Senate passes bill to stop default, sends it to Biden’s office

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday night approved a bipartisan deal to avert a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt, sending the package of spending cuts and debt ceiling suspension to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature.

The Senate moved with unusual speed, rushing to complete the legislation by Monday, the sooner the federal government could pay all its bills.

“America can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. “Despite all the ups and downs and twists and turns it took to get here, it’s been so good for this country that both sides have finally come together to avoid default.”

Calling the package a “huge win for our economy and the American people,” Biden said in a statement that he looked forward to signing the bill “as soon as possible.”

The White House announced that Biden will address the nation at 7 p.m. Friday.

Some senators demanded votes on amendments in exchange for not dragging out the debate, but none were approved.

The 63-36 vote came a day after the House passed “the Fiscal Responsibility Act” by a wide margin. House resisters included far-right Republicans who said the spending cuts did not go far enough. House Liberals who voted against the bill criticized the legislation for expanding work requirements for food stamps, accelerating approvals for oil and gas projects and capping future spending.

In the Senate, 31 Republicans and five Liberals — including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. – opposed the bill.

The legislation, which was brokered by Biden and R-California House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, would suspend the limit on how much the federal government can borrow until Jan. 2, 2025.

It would also hold discretionary non-defense spending — which doesn’t include Social Security and Medicare — roughly flat for 2024 and increase it by 1% in 2025. About $30 billion in silver unspent coronavirus relief would be cancelled. Billions of dollars in funding recently approved for the IRS to improve customer service and tackle tax evaders would be redirected to other areas, reducing the amount of taxes that would have been collected with full funding.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the bill will slash federal spending by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.

Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.

Some Senate Republicans have complained that the deal does not include enough funding for defense since the increase is below the rate of inflation.

“Ronald Reagan’s party would never allow inflation to reduce defense capabilities,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C.

Schumer stressed that the agreement does not preclude Congress from considering emergency spending requests for Ukraine or other national security needs. Such emergency spending does not count against budget cuts, but it still increases the deficit.

“I know a strong bipartisan majority of senators are ready to receive and process the administration’s emergency funding requests,” he said.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., had hoped to cut the fast-track approval of a controversial national gas pipeline from northwest West Virginia to southern Virginia, backed by Sen. Joe Manchin, DW, out of the package. Goes.

“No everyday person gets this deal,” said Kaine, the only Democrat to propose an amendment. He was beaten 30-69.

Some senators have complained that they did not have enough say in shaping the agreement.

“We weren’t a party to the deal,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “Why should we be bound by the strict terms of this agreement?”

But with the clock ticking toward default, enough senators didn’t want to risk having to send an amended bill back to the House for another vote.

“I would say it’s very irresponsible for us to change anything here,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “The House is gone. We will be in default.

The Treasury Department has been using “extraordinary measures” to pay the nation’s bills since mid-January, when the nation hit the $31.381 billion limit on how much it can borrow.

The Treasury borrows money to pay all its bills because the government spends more than it collects in revenue. The amount the government can borrow is set by law, making it a separate process from decisions made in annual spending bills and policy measures that determine the amount of funds spent and the amount of taxes and other revenues. .

More: Who voted against the debt ceiling bill in the House? These 117 lawmakers opposed it

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Deal to Prevent June 5 Default

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