US Senate Passes Bill to Raise Federal Debt Ceiling Until Early December
00:16 GMT 08.10.2021 (Updated: 13:59 GMT 19.12.2022)
The move will allow the government to pay its bills until December 3. Without congressional action to hike the $28.4 trillion debt limit, the Treasury Department says it could run out of money by October 18.
The US Senate has passed a bill to temporarily increase the federal debt ceiling until early December.
The vote broke primarily down party lines, with all 50 Democratic and Independent senators voting in favor of the measure and 48 of 50 Republican senators voting against the measure.
The 11 Republican senators who ended the 60-vote filibuster were Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and John Thune of South Dakota.
North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr did not cast a vote.
The measure to raise the debt ceiling prevents the US from defaulting on its debts.
However, the measure is only a short-term solution: the US will rack up around $480 billion in debt by December 3rd. Lawmakers will shortly be thrust into action over funding the government and, likely, raising the debt ceiling once again.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen believes having a debt ceiling is, "increasingly damaging to America," and that "it's led to a series of politically dangerous conflicts that have caused Americans and global markets to question whether or not America's serious about paying its bills. It's flirting with a self-inflicted crisis."
If the debt ceiling had not been raised, it would have been the first time the US had ever defaulted on its loans. The fallout from doing so could have caused the US economy to crash and potentially impact the global economy as well.
7 October 2021, 13:00 GMT
The default itself has never happened, but the threat of it is widely used for political bargaining in Congress. Republicans and Democrats are both aware of the dire consequences of not raising the US debt ceiling in these situations and use the enormity of the vote to gain concessions in negotiations.
The bill now goes to the House for passage before being signed by President Joe Biden. He will endorse an increase in the national debt ceiling right after it is approved by Congress, the White House assured.