The House on Tuesday cleared a short-term increase in the nation’s debt limit, ensuring the federal government can continue paying its bills into December and averting a potential default that would likely have had catastrophic fallout on the economy.
The $480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing limit passed the Senate last week on a party-line vote. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill this week, though Congress will now need to tackle this issue again in early December. The new deadline will coincide with a need to address government funding by Dec. 3 or risk a partial government shutdown.
The debt ceiling has become a politically volatile issue as Republicans blocked initial efforts to raise the debt limit through 2022 and still insist that Democrats should own their own spending agenda and address the debt ceiling in December through the reconciliation process without Republican votes.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote in a letter to Biden last week that he and Senate Republicans will not go along with raising the debt limit again in December.
“I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” McConnell said. “Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling through standalone legislation, and all the tools to do it. They cannot invent another crisis and ask for my help.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said this week that the debt limit should be acted on in a bipartisan fashion.
“Addressing the debt limit is not about future spending, as some have tried to represent,” Pelosi said. “This is about meeting obligations that the government has already incurred, including from the bipartisan COVID relief legislation passed last year. Only three percent of the current debt that we are addressing here has been incurred during the Biden years.”