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Biden-McCarthy Debt Ceiling Agreement Passes in House, Now Heads to Senate

by Joshua Brown
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Biden-McCarthy Debt Ceiling Agreement

WASHINGTON (BBN) – In an effort to avert a potential default crisis, the House has resoundingly endorsed a package for the debt ceiling and budget cuts. The deal, which was brokered by President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, now moves forward to the Senate for prompt approval before a rapidly approaching deadline.

Despite satisfaction not being universal, legislators agreed that this compromise was preferable to the dire economic disruption that could arise should Congress fail to take action. Opposition from hard-right Republicans was apparent, yet Biden and McCarthy managed to rally a bipartisan group to secure a strong 314-117 vote late Wednesday.

“This is a substantial achievement,” stated McCarthy, a California Republican. Following the vote, Biden, monitoring the results from Colorado Springs where he is due to deliver a commencement speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy on Thursday, contacted McCarthy and other congressional leaders. He deemed the outcome as beneficial for both the American public and the economy.

With the Treasury’s announcement that the U.S. risks running out of money and defaulting by next Monday, Washington is urgently wrapping up deliberations on the package to guarantee the government’s ability to continue paying its bills and prevent financial instability domestically and internationally.

Biden had been directly lobbying lawmakers for support, while McCarthy was tasked with convincing doubtful Republicans, all while defending his leadership from potential challenges. A similar bipartisan collaboration is necessary in the Senate to surmount objections.

The 99-page bill aims to reduce the country’s deficits as required by Republicans, without repealing the tax reductions from the Trump era that Biden sought to overturn. To secure passage, Biden and McCarthy relied on backing from the political middle ground, a rare occurrence in a polarized Washington.

The negotiated package implements spending limitations for the next two years, suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025, and introduces policy changes, including new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid, and approving an Appalachian natural gas line opposed by many Democrats. It also increases funds for defense and veterans while cutting new money for IRS agents.

The bill aims to increase the nation’s current $31 trillion debt limit, which would enable the Treasury to borrow to pay pre-existing U.S. debts.

Despite discontent from Republicans arguing the spending restrictions were insufficient, and from Democrats expressing their dissatisfaction with new work requirements and environmental policy changes, the bill was passed in the House and now awaits its fate in the Senate.

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