Washington – The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to suspend the debt ceiling and limit federal spending, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk to avert a US government default that would have wreaked economic havoc.
The Senate adopted the bill, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, by a bipartisan vote of 63-36. Both sides acknowledged that the deal negotiated by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden was far from perfect but necessary to avoid a catastrophic default.
“I look forward to signing this bill into law as soon as possible and addressing the American people directly tomorrow,” Biden said in a statement Thursday evening.
Before final passage, the Senate voted on 11 amendments to the bill, all of which failed.
Four Democrats and an independent joined 31 Republicans in voting against the bill. They are Sens. John Fetterman, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, and Bernie Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with Democrats.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted after its passage: “We passed this important legislation to support American families, maintain vital programs, and avoid catastrophic default – and I look forward to President Biden signing it without delay.”
Republican Senator Bill Hagerty was absent and was the only senator not to vote.
“Four months after Speaker McCarthy called on President Biden to begin negotiating a solution to the looming debt crisis, an important step toward fiscal sanity will finally become law,” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
Treasury Secretary Janet YellenThe US risked defaulting as soon as June 5 if the debt ceiling was not raised before then.
Among the failed amendments is one from Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who sought to put a provision in the bill on a constructive path.To transport natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has introduced an amendment that includes more significant spending cuts than are included in the bill.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has proposed an amendment to remove part of the bill that would allow the Office of Management and Budget to waive some spending limits if it is necessary to “deliver essential services.”
theon wednesday at Despite the opposition of some conservatives and progressives. In total, 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats supported the measure, while 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats opposed it.
The fact that more Democrats supported the measure in the Republican-majority House drew McCarthy’s criticism from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who threatened to impeach his spokesperson. However, most Republicans praised his ability to pass the bill through a runaway House.
“I wanted to make history,” McCarthy said Wednesday after the final vote. “I wanted to do something no other Congress has done, which is to literally run the ship and, for the first time in some time, spend less than we did the year before. Tonight, we all made history.”
The procedure nearly fails on the way to the house floor. Lead by only one vote outOn Tuesday, two Conservatives voted against letting it go ahead. Another vote in the opposition would have doomed him, but Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, another conservative on the committee, helped propel him.
On Wednesday, it appeared to be in danger of failing again when nearly 30 Republicans voted against a procedural measure that allowed the bill to move forward to a final vote, but Democrats stepped in to provide the needed votes.
The deal suspends the $31.4 trillion borrowing limit through January 2025, leaving the next battle over the debt ceiling for the next president and Congress. The deal keeps spending flat for 2024 and imposes limits for 2025.
The legislation also ends a student loan payment freeze that was in place during the pandemic, imposes stricter work requirements on food stamps, brings back some IRS funding and unspent COVID relief money, and accelerates new energy projects.
He is now heading to Mr. Biden’s office for his signature.