The Senate on Thursday night passed legislation that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling and pause some government spending over the next two years, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk to avoid default.
The final vote was 63-36 as Biden thanked Senate leadership for passing the legislation and vowed to sign it into law as soon as possible.
“Together, they demonstrated once more that America is a nation that pays its bills and meets its obligations — and always will be. I want to thank Leader [Chuck] Schumer and Leader [Mitch] McConnell for quickly passing the bill,” he said.
“No one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake: This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people,” Biden added.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was a deal brokered by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, will raise the $31.4 trillion debt limit through Jan. 1, 2025, while also putting a cap on some government spending.
Republicans are touting the bill’s passage as a win while Democrats say the bill will keep their priorities like Medicare and Social Security intact.
“America can breathe a sigh of relief. Because in this process we are avoiding default,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “The consequences of default would be catastrophic.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the bill an “urgent and important step in the right direction — for the health of our economy and the future of our country.”
The bill will also restart student loan payments, ending the “pause” that began early in the pandemic. It would also require adults up to 55 years old to get benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
The Biden-McCarthy deal, as written, would not make any changes to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
“I thank my colleagues for the good work tonight,” Schumer said. “I commend President Biden and his team for producing a sensible compromise under the most difficult of circumstances. So many of the destructive provisions in the Republican bill are gone.”