Senate votes to temporarily boost debt ceiling

Immediately following the Senate's vote to pass healthcare reform legislation, the upper chamber approved a temporary increase to the nation's debt limit.

The $290 billion increase would extend the government's ability to borrow for approximately two months. The increase is necessary with the federal debt approaching its current $12.1 trillion ceiling. The debt ceiling now rests at $12.4 trillion.

The House passed the $290 billion short-term increase last week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) struck an agreement to hold the Christmas Eve vote this week. The two leaders also agreed to hold a vote on a long-term debt limit increase on Jan. 20.

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