- Legislation raises government’s borrowing limit to $28.9tn
- Hard-fought House vote passes entirely along party lines
The US House of Representatives gave final approval on Tuesday to a Senate-passed bill temporarily raising the government’s borrowing limit to $28.9tn, putting off the risk of default at least until early December.
Democrats, who narrowly control the House, maintained party discipline to pass the hard-fought, $480bn debt limit increase. The vote was along party lines, with every yes from Democrats and every no from Republicans.
Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law this week, before 18 October, when the treasury department has estimated it would no longer be able to pay the nation’s debts without congressional action.
Republicans insist Democrats should take responsibility for raising the debt limit because they want to spend trillions of dollars to expand social programs and tackle climate change. Democrats say the increased borrowing authority is needed largely to cover the cost of tax cuts and spending programs during Donald Trump’s administration, which House Republicans supported.
House passage warded off concerns that the world’s largest economy would go into default for the first time, but only for about seven weeks, setting the stage for continued fighting between the parties.
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell wrote to Biden on Friday that he would not work with Democrats on another debt limit increase. McConnell was harshly criticized by Trump, the Republican party’s leader, after the Senate vote.
Lawmakers also have only until 3 December to pass spending legislation to prevent a government shutdown.