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Biden signs $480billion bill raising nation’s borrowing limit to $28.9trillion

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Biden signs legislation temporarily raising the government’s borrowing limit to $28.9 trillion, pushing off the deadline for debt default until December

  • President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit by $480billion until early December
  • The House passed the increase in the country´s borrowing ceiling on Tuesday
  •  The approval came after a protracted standoff with Senate Republicans, who derailed initial Democratic efforts with filibusters
  • Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans will offer no support for another increase in December
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the US would hit its borrowing limit Monday, an situation that she cautioned could lead to economic catastrophe 










President Joe Biden has signed legislation temporarily raising the government’s borrowing limit to $28.9 trillion, pushing off the deadline for debt default only until December.

Without the increase in the debt ceiling, the U.S. Treasury had estimated it would run out of money to pay the nation’s bills on Oct. 18.

The $480 billion increase in the borrowing limit signed by Biden is expected to be exhausted by December 3.

The House swiftly passed the $480 billion increase in the country´s borrowing ceiling on Tuesday, after the Senate approved it on a party-line vote so Biden could sign it into law this week. 

The approval came after a protracted standoff with Senate Republicans, who derailed initial Democratic efforts with filibusters, delays that require 60 votes to halt. The vote was 219-206, with only Democrats voting in the affirmative. 

Ultimately, a handful of Senate Republicans agreed to join Democrats and voted to end GOP delays and move to a final vote on the legislation, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans will offer no support for another increase in December.

The House swiftly passed the $480 billion increase in the country´s borrowing ceiling on Tuesday, after the Senate approved it on a party-line vote last week so Biden (pictured today) could sign it into law this week

In the run-up to the vote, House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern hammered Republicans for resisting pushing up the debt limit.   

‘What we’re doing here is paying for the bills that Donald Trump and the Republicans accumulated,’ McGovern said on the House floor. ‘It’s like my Republican friends went to a fancy restaurant, drank champagne, ate caviar and ran out of the restaurant before paying the bill.’   

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that the U.S. would hit its borrowing limit Monday, an unprecedented situation that she and others cautioned could lead to economic catastrophe for a nation still reeling from a global pandemic. 

Routine government payments to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and active-duty military personnel would potentially be delayed, and the economic fallout in the U.S. could ripple through global markets.

The passage of the short-term debt ceiling increase ensures that, for now, the U.S. will continue to meet its obligations. But it sets up another potential cliff at the end of the year – at a time when lawmakers will also be working to pass a federal funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

Minnesota Representative  Michelle Fischbach (R) looks at the final version of the bill to increase the debt limit at Tuesday's House Rules Committee meeting in the Capitol. The passage of the short-term debt ceiling increase ensures that, for now, the U.S. will continue to meet its obligations

Minnesota Representative  Michelle Fischbach (R) looks at the final version of the bill to increase the debt limit at Tuesday’s House Rules Committee meeting in the Capitol. The passage of the short-term debt ceiling increase ensures that, for now, the U.S. will continue to meet its obligations

Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage for other priorities. Since 1997, the ceiling's limit has increased by more than five times

Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage for other priorities. Since 1997, the ceiling’s limit has increased by more than five times

McConnell wanted Senate Democrats to pass a debt ceiling hike alone – using the process of reconciliation to bypass the filibuster and get a bill through, like the process Democrats are using for Biden’s massive climate change and social safety net plan. But Democrats have resisted that option. 

The clash between the two parties leaves Congress without a clear solution to avert the next default deadline in December, but the White House has emphasized it is still pursuing a bipartisan increase.

Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage for other priorities. Since 1997, the ceiling’s limit has increased by more than five times.

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. 

In 2011, Republicans in 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.

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