Congress Sends Debt Deal to Biden's Desk
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WASHINGTON - The debt limit drama is over for the moment after the Senate passed a bill raising the debt ceiling and averting a potential economic disaster.
The bill now heads to President Biden's desk and he's expected to sign it this weekend.
A bipartisan effort got the deal done. Forty-four Democrats and 17 Republicans voted yes in the Senate during a session that lasted into Thursday night.
"President Biden and his negotiating team have accomplished the least bad outcome we could have hoped for, given how extreme the demands of the House Republican majority were," said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).
The deal raises the debt ceiling until 2025 and is estimated to cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. It also returns billions of dollars in unused COVID funds and IRS funding to the government. In addition, it adds some work requirements for welfare programs, a provision that angered progressives.
"This debt ceiling agreement will cut programs for some of the most vulnerable people in America," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) argued ahead of his "no" vote.
Most Republicans in the Senate voted against the measure saying the deal didn't do enough to rein in deficit spending.
"I'm disappointed that there's not more victory for American workers. And I will just say again, I think the most important deficit we have is our trade deficit, and until we do something about that, I think we're not putting this economy on a path for true, broad-based growth," said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said his concerns were about military spending.
"This is really dumb. We put ourselves in a position where if we don't pass all the appropriation bills, the cuts negotiated by the House to non-defense are wiped out," he said.
The back-and-forth wrangling between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) went on for months leading up to negotiations and the ultimate passage of the bill. In the end, it was a Washington compromise that averted default.
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