NATIONAL NEWS

House sends debt limit hike to Biden, staving off default

Oct 12, 2021, 6:03 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm
The exterior of the U.S. Capitol is seen during a rare Saturday session on August 7, 2021 in Washin...
The exterior of the U.S. Capitol is seen during a rare Saturday session on August 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate will vote on amendments for the legislative text of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of August recess. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the House on Tuesday pushed through a short-term increase to the nation’s debt limit, ensuring the federal government can continue fully paying its bills into December and temporarily averting an unprecedented default that would have decimated the economy.

The $480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling cleared the Senate last week on a party-line vote. The House approved it swiftly so President Joe Biden can sign it into law this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that steps to stave off a default on the country’s debts would be exhausted by Monday, and from that point, the department would soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.

A default would have immense fallout on global financial markets built upon the bedrock safety of U.S. government debt. Routine government payments to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and active-duty military personnel would also be called into question.

The relief provided by passage of the legislation will only be temporary though, forcing Congress to revisit the issue in December — a time when lawmakers will also be laboring to complete federal spending bills and avoid a damaging government shutdown. The yearend backlog raises risks for both parties and threatens a tumultuous close to Biden’s first year in office.

“I’m glad that this at least allows us to prevent a totally self-made and utterly preventable economic catastrophe as we work on a longer-term plan,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
Republicans signaled the next debt limit debate won’t be any easier and warned Democrats not to expect their help.

“Unless and until Democrats give up on their dream of a big-government, socialist America, Republicans cannot and will not support raising the debt limit and help them pave the superhighway to a great entitlement society,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.

Procedurally, the House took a single vote Tuesday that had the effect of passing the Senate bill. The measure passed by a party-line vote of 219-206.

The present standoff over the debt ceiling eased when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to help pass the short-term increase. But he insists he won’t do so again.
In a letter sent Friday to Biden, McConnell said Democrats will have to handle the next debt-limit increase on their own using the same process they have tried to use to pass Biden’s massive social spending and environment plan. Reconciliation allows legislation to pass the Senate with 51 votes rather than the 60 that’s typically required. In the 50-50 split Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris gives Democrats the majority with her tiebreaking vote.

Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage for other priorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling when President Donald Trump was in office, saying she had no intention of supporting lifting the debt ceiling to enable Republicans to give another tax break to the rich. And Republicans in 2011 managed to coerce President Barack Obama into accepting about $2 trillion in deficit cuts as a condition for increasing the debt limit — though lawmakers later rolled back some of those cuts.

Pelosi told reporters Tuesday that over the years Republicans and Democrats have voted against lifting the debt ceiling, “but never to the extent of jeopardizing it.”
Pelosi offered her hope that Congress would lift the debt ceiling in a bipartisan way this December because of the stakes involved. But she also floated a bill sponsored by Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., that would transfer the duty of raising the debt limit away from Congress and vest it with the Treasury secretary, saying, “I think it has merit.”

In his focus on the debt limit, McConnell has tried to link Biden’s big federal government spending boost with the nation’s rising debt load, even though they are separate and the debt ceiling will have to be increased or suspended regardless of whether Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan makes it into law.

“Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling through standalone reconciliation, and all the tools to do it,” McConnell said in a letter to the president. “They cannot invent another crisis and ask for my help.”

McConnell was one of 11 Republicans who sided with Democrats to advance the debt ceiling reprieve to a final vote. Subsequently, McConnell and his GOP colleagues voted against final passage.

The debate over the debt ceiling has at times gotten personal. McConnell last week suggested that Democrats were playing “Russian roulette” with the economy because they had not dealt with the debt ceiling through the process he had insisted upon. He called out Pelosi for traveling to Europe last week.

“I can only presume she hopes the full faith and credit of the United States will get sorted out,” McConnell said.

Pelosi did not let the shot pass. “Russian roulette from Moscow Mitch. Interesting,” she said.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday’s vote marked the 50th time dating back to President Ronald Reagan that he has voted on extending the debt limit.

“Nobody has clean hands when it comes to the debt limit,” he said.

Because the Senate bill only allowed for a stopgap extension, Hoyer called it a “lousy deal.”

“And then we’re going to play this game one more time, a despicable and irresponsible act for adults who know better,” Hoyer said.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said he wanted to “thank” Hoyer for sharing that he had previously voted for raising the debt ceiling 49 times.

“When he came into this body, the debt was about a trillion dollars,” Roy said. “Thank you, I guess, on behalf of the people of America who are staring at 28-and-a-half trillion dollars of debt.”

The current debt ceiling is $28.4 trillion. Both parties have contributed to that load with decisions that have left the government rarely operating in the black.

The calamitous ramifications of default are why lawmakers have been able to reach a compromise to lift or suspend the debt cap some 18 times since 2002, often after frequent rounds of brinkmanship.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

Coke’s latest bizarre flavor is here

Coca-Cola's latest experimental, limited-time flavor is here and it's called "Dreamworld."
14 hours ago
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 17: Former U.S. President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith ...
Kara Scannell, CNN

Former President Donald Trump invokes Fifth Amendment rights and declines to answer

Former President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer questions from the New York attorney general at a scheduled deposition Wednesday.
14 hours ago
Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center...
Nouran Salahieh and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Hundreds of tips helped police identify and charge ‘primary suspect’ in killings of Muslim men

The hundreds of tips ultimately led to an arrest. Now police are searching for a motive.
14 hours ago
Evan Vucci/AP...
Kara Scannell, CNN

Former President Donald Trump to be deposed by NY attorney general on Wednesday

Former President Donald Trump is expected to be deposed by lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James' office Wednesday.
14 hours ago
Workers assemble laptop computer on the assembly line at Hasee Computer company's manufacturing cen...
Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business

The next frontier in the tech battle between the US and China

A new battleground is emerging: the components that power our smartphones, computers, automobiles and home appliances.
14 hours ago
August 9, 2022, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: JOURNAL.Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina , left...
Ashley Killough, Ed Lavandera and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Hours before the Albuquerque killings suspect was identified, reporters were inside his home

Authorities said Tuesday they arrested 51-year-old Muhammad Syed as a suspect in the killings of two Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
House sends debt limit hike to Biden, staving off default