The House of Representatives voted late Tuesday to extend the federal debt limit through early December, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk, who is expected to sign it.
The party-line vote of 219-206 approves an increase of $480 billion to the debt limit until Dec. 3, lifting it from $28.4 trillion to $28.9 trillion.
“It’s about the kitchen table, it’s about our economy, the global economy, but it’s also about our constitution which says the full faith and credit of the United States shall not be in doubt,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters ahead of the vote.
“This is about meeting obligations that the government has already incurred, including from the bipartisan Covid relief or legislation passed last year,” Pelosi added.
“Only three percent of the current debt that we’re addressing here has been incurred during the Biden years.”
The move would temporarily avert a government default that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had previously warned would cause “irreparable” harm to the economy. The default was forecasted to happen by around Oct. 18, after which the Treasury Department would be unable to meet the government’s financial obligations.
The legislation passed the Senate last week on a party-line vote of 50–48, coming after 11 Republicans joined Democrats to end a filibuster that required 60 votes.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was among the 11 Republicans who sided with Democrats, but voted against final passage.
Pelosi was asked Tuesday about a growing clamor to take the decision on raising the debt ceiling away from the party politics on Capitol Hill and give it to the Treasury.
“That seems to have some appeal to both sides of the aisle because of the consequences for people of not lifting it,” she said.
“Many, many Democrats and Republicans have voted against lifting the debt ceiling — but never (before) to the extent of jeopardizing it.”