Congress raises debt ceiling by $2.5 T, good for a year

Washington: The House voted 221 to 209 early Wednesday morning to increase the federal borrowing limit by $2.5 trillion, a figure Democrats say will allow the government to avoid default until early 2023.

The measure, which was approved almost entirely along party lines, means Congress will likely avoid any major debt limit debates until after the 2022 midterm elections. Whichever party controls Congress after the midterms will have to determine how to address the issue or face the threat of federal default.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was the lone Republican to vote for the measure.

Congressional leaders managed to avoid such a threat this year after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reached a deal to allow a one-time-only change to Senate rules. Under that agreement, Republicans agreed to stand aside and let Democrats pass the debt limit increase without the threat of a GOP filibuster.

That measure passed the Senate Tuesday afternoon, 50-49, paving the way for the House vote.

Lawmakers are in the midst of a year-end dash to pass a long list of bills that were stalled for months over partisan bickering. The two parties reached agreements on regular government funding, the debt limit and an authorization bill for the Department of Defense.

Democrats also hope to pass President Joe Biden’s roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation before the monthly child tax credit program expires at the end of the year.

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