WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Senate temporarily averted a U.S. debt crisis Thursday by voting to extend the government’s borrowing authority into early December.
The Senate voted 50-48 to raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion, which would lift the debt limit to $28.9 trillion. The approval comes after weeks of bipartisan negotiating.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which needs to approve it before President Joe Biden can sign it into law. The House is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
“As we approach the coming months, we hope that even more Republicans will join Democrats in responsibly addressing the debt limit instead of choosing default or obstruction,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Thursday. “We cannot allow partisan politics to hold our economy hostage, and we can’t allow the routine process of paying our bills to turn into a confidence-shaking political showdown every two years or every two months.”
Lawmakers are working to fund the federal government for the new fiscal year all while compromising on Biden’s top priorities — a bipartisan infrastructure plan with nearly $550 billion in new spending as well as a much more expansive $3.5 trillion effort focused on health, safety net programs and the environment.
Thursday’s agreement sets the tone for Dec. 3, when Congress will again face deadlines to fund the government and raise the debt limit before heading home for the holidays. Also on that day, funding for most federal programs expires under a stopgap measure passed last month following another bipartisan standoff.
This means that over the next eight weeks, Congress will have dual challenges of finding a middle ground on agency spending through September 2022, ranging from education and foreign aid programs to immigration enforcement and airport security, and avoiding yet another debt limit meltdown.
The vote followed a months-long standoff that brought the nation close to the Oct. 18 date, after which the Treasury Department had warned it will quickly run short of funds to handle the nation’s already accrued debt load.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.