Washington: After the US Senate passed bipartisan legislation backed by President Joe Biden on Thursday that lifts the government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, the mighty United States averted default on its debt which could have been its first-ever.
The Senate voted 63-36 to approve the bill that had been passed on Wednesday by the House of Representatives, as lawmakers raced against the clock following months of partisan bickering between Democrats and Republicans.
If Congress could not pass legislation by June 5, the Treasury Department had issued a warning that it would not be able to pay all of its payments.
Chuck Schumer, the majority leader in the 100-member Senate, declared on Thursday that “we are avoiding default tonight.”
President Biden praised Congress’ timely action. “This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people,” the Democratic president said in a statement, adding that he will sign it into law as soon as possible.
Biden was directly involved in negotiations on the bill with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Even though this hard debate is over, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has already signalled the next budget dispute.
He issued a statement in which he pledged that Senate Republicans “will continue to work to provide for the common defence and control Washington Democrats’ reckless spending”
McConnell was referring to 12 bills Congress will work on over the summer to fund government programs in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, which will also carry out the broad instructions of the debt limit bill.