US Congress to avert default with stop-gap debt limit hike

1.US Congress to avert default
US Capitol building (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
WASHINGTON — US lawmakers were set Tuesday to rubber-stamp a short-term bill to lift the nation’s borrowing authority, averting the threat of a debt default — but only for a few weeks. اضافة اعلان

Congressional leadership does not expect any trouble passing the stop-gap $480 billion hike, which advanced from the Senate last Thursday after weeks of heated debate.  

Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues in a letter late Monday that “we must lift the debt ceiling and hope that we can have a unanimous Democratic vote and perhaps a bipartisan vote to do so.” 

Republicans had initially refused to offer any of their own votes to avert the crisis, or even allow the Democrats who control Congress to lift the limit on their own. 

But the party dropped its blockade in the Senate last week, ending for now an impasse that risked leaving the federal government incapable of securing and servicing loans after October 18.

The new arrangement would merely kick the can down the road, possibly to coincide with another major funding deadline — a shutdown that would begin from December 3 when the government’s coffers theoretically run out.

The borrowing cap may yet turn out to be less pressing, however. 

Economists estimate that the nation will reach the new, revised debt limit sometime in mid-December or early January — slightly later than the December 3 date that Congress originally projected. 

The United States spends more money than it collects through taxation so it borrows money via the issuing of government bonds, seen as among the world’s most reliable investments.

Around 80 years ago lawmakers introduced a limit on how much federal debt could be accrued. 

The ceiling has been lifted dozens of times to allow the government to meet its spending commitments — usually without drama and with the support of both parties — and stands at around $28 trillion.

But Republicans in both chambers of Congress have this time objected in protest of Biden’s taxing and spending plans.

In reality, raising the debt ceiling doesn’t authorize new spending — it merely pays for expenses that both Republican and Democratic administrations have already authorized.  

With the House on a break, dozens of members are expected to vote by proxy. They won’t vote directly on lifting the limit — it will merely be “deemed” lifted as part of House procedure governing debate on three minor bills. 

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