WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — After weeks of tense negotiations and uncertainty over avoiding a default, lawmakers in the House approved the deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. With time still ticking, the focus shifts to the Senate, where leaders have said they expect passage sometime over the next few days.
The House passed the debt ceiling bill with more than 300 supporting votes, most of which came from Democrats. Still, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did shore up what was being called a “majority of the majority.”
Earlier in the day, the House approved a rule that allowed lawmakers to introduce the bill by a vote of 241-187. But the procedural vote wasn’t without drama.
McCarthy needed support from Democrats after 29 GOP members of Congress voted against the rule. In the end, 52 Democratic lawmakers joined the Republican majority to advance the bill.
Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continued to voice their opposition and said the deal didn’t go far enough with spending cuts.
“Yes, it may not include everything we need to do, but it is absolutely everything we need to do right now,” McCarthy said.
“From the very beginning, House Democrats were clear that we would not allow extreme MAGA Republicans to default on our debt, crash the economy, or trigger a job-killing recession,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). “Under the leadership of President Joe Biden, Democrats kept our promise.”
The deal will suspend the debt limit for two years, while also putting in new work requirements for older Americans receiving food assistance. It also boosts funding for veterans and defense and approves a natural gas pipeline going from West Virginia to Virginia.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the plan cuts the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
President Joe Biden watched the vote from Colorado, where he’s expected to deliver the commencement speech at the Air Force Academy on Thursday. He called McCarthy after the vote.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell believes the Senate can put the bill over the finish line as soon as Thursday or Friday. Monday remains the hard deadline for when the U.S. will be unable to pay its bills.
A big focus will be on if any senator insists on adding amendments to the bill, because doing so would likely drag talks into the weekend and up close to Monday’s deadline.