House Pushes High-stakes Deadline to December as Short-term Debt Limit Hiked

The House approved a short-term increase in the debt ceiling Tuesday, allowing the Treasury to continue borrowing money to pay bills for two months. Once again, there will be another battle over the debt limit. On partisan lines, the House voted 219-206.

The bill is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden, which moved forward Thursday after barely clearing the 60-vote mark in the Senate. It’s a short reprieve that will lead to another round of bickering in December.

The debt ceiling will be reset once again, according to the Act. It establishes a new deadline of December 3 for the government to reach its debt limit. According to news reports, the Treasury may have some flexibility beyond that date to keep paying obligations.

As a result of the deal, Democrats will win more seats in this year’s midterms. They’re also preparing for another battle in December when the new deadline arrives. After initially opposing the short-term agreement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was unable to obtain sufficient Republican votes to pass it.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated that he will not accept a debt-ceiling increase without concessions from the White House. Biden, for his part, suggested on Tuesday that the two parties work together to resolve the issue before it becomes critical in January 2020.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has received rare criticism from his Republican colleagues for what they dubbed a “capitulation,” with some speculating that he “blinked” to avoid Senate Republicans eliminating the filibuster.

President Trump, the de facto head of the party who has been reportedly preparing a presidential campaign again, added to the criticism by labeling him “folding Mitch McConnell” for accepting a debt limit increase with no concessions. (In 2019, as president, Trump urged against using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip.)

The debt ceiling does not allow the government to spend money that has already been authorized. It enables the administration to pay bills accumulated under the guidance of both parties over several years as a result of partisan leadership.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that if the borrowing limit were to be breached, there would be “catastrophic economic effects.”

By transferring the power to raise it to the Treasury secretary rather than requiring a vote of Congress, she helped pass legislation sponsored by Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., and Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., that would eliminate the debt ceiling as it now stands.

“I believe it has merit,” Pelosi said, adding that such a decision could be reversed through Congress legislation.

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