The Senate on Thursday approved legislation that prevents the U.S. from hitting its debt limit until May 19, sending the legislation to President Obama.
In a 64-34 vote, the Senate gave its blessing to a House bill that suspends the debt ceiling until May 19, when the Treasury Department will need to use “extraordinary measures” to keep paying the nation’s bills.
Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteFEC commissioner to Trump: Prove voter fraud Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Lewandowski saw no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire MORE (N.H.), Roy BluntRoy BluntTop Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight Overnight Healthcare: Pressure mounts for changes to GOP ObamaCare bill Pressure mounts for changes to ObamaCare bill MORE (Mo.), Thad CochranThad CochranOvernight Defense: FBI chief confirms Trump campaign, Russia probe | Senators push for Afghan visas | Problems persist at veterans' suicide hotline Senators ask to include visas for Afghans in spending bill Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE (Miss.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThis week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing MORE (Maine), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro Republicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report Graham: 'I'm glad' Ivanka will be working in the White House MORE (S.C.), Dean HellerDean HellerRed-state Dems in Supreme Court pressure cooker This week: House GOP faces make-or-break moment on ObamaCare Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE (Nev.), John HoevenJohn HoevenCombating opioid epidemic, repealing ObamaCare will hurt the cause Senate panel considers how to fund Trump’s T infrastructure package A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (N.D.), John McCainJohn McCainSenate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro A great military requires greater spending than Trump has proposed Cheney: Russian election interference could be ‘act of war’ MORE (Ariz.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE (Alaska), Richard Shelby (Ala.), John ThuneJohn ThuneThis week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat Lawmakers want infrastructure funded by offshore tax reform Senate GOP hedges on ObamaCare repeal timeline MORE (S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerAs US healthcare changes, preventative screenings can't stop A guide to the committees: Senate Pruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault MORE (Miss.) voted with the Democratic caucus to pass the legislation. Only one Democrat — Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Healthcare: Ryan visits White House amid healthcare rubble Pence pushes Manchin in home state to support Gorsuch Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE (W.Va.)— voted against the bill.
Two Democrats — Sens. John KerryJohn KerryCongress, Trump need a united front to face down Iran One year ago today we declared ISIS atrocities as genocide Trump’s realism toward Iran is stabilizing force for Middle East MORE (Mass.) and Patty MurrayPatty MurrayInspector general reviewing HHS decision to halt ObamaCare ads Dems mock House GOP over lack of women in healthcare meeting The Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (Wash.) — missed the vote.
H.R. 325, the “No Budget, No Pay” Act, also would withhold pay to the members of a chamber that do not approve a budget resolution by April 15. That language is a dig from Republicans to Senate Democrats, who haven’t approved a budget resolution since 2009.
Lawmakers could still get paid if they don’t write a budget, but not until the final day of the congressional session.
“I commend the House on one aspect of the legislation and that is the suspension of salary for members of Congress if they do not pass a budget by April 15,” Sen. Dan CoatsDan CoatsMcCain says he hasn't met with Trump since inauguration Oversight committee asks White House, FBI for Flynn records Live coverage: FBI director testifies to Congress MORE (R-Ind.) said. “If this body can’t fulfill its most fundamental duty by law, then I don’t think we should get paid.”
Senate passage of the bill sends it to Obama — who has said he will sign it — and temporarily suspends the fight over the debt ceiling.
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidAfter healthcare fail, 4 ways to revise conservative playbook Dem senator 'not inclined to filibuster' Gorsuch This obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all MORE (D-Nev.) hailed Republicans for agreeing to a “clean” debt limit bill that did not tie the hike to spending cuts.
“I was reassured by House Republicans’ decision last week to back off their reckless threat to hold the debt ceiling hostage. … A clean debt ceiling increase that allows the United States to meet its existing obligations should be the standard,” he said.
Yet Congress will face a slew of other decisions in coming months over spending that could have enormous effects on the economy.
Spending cuts under sequestration will be triggered in March unless Congress acts to prevent them, something that looks increasingly unlikely.
And a resolution to keep the government funded also expires in March. The government will shut down without congressional approval of a new funding mechanism.
The Senate rejected four Republican amendments prior to final passage.
The first, which would have required a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling, was introduced by Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Vulnerable Senate Dem: Border tax concerning for agriculture MORE (R-Ohio) and failed in 54-44 vote that tabled the amendment.
A second amendment offered by Portman, also tabled in a 52-46 vote, would have implemented automatic continuous spending resolutions if Congress doesn’t agree on appropriation bills. But if Congress still didn’t act within 120 days of the spending bills, the amendment would have reduced government spending by 1 percent immediately and cut another 1 percent for every 90 days that followed.
An amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) requiring the Secretary of Treasury to prioritize federal spending if the debt ceiling is not raised again was tabled in a 53-45 vote.
His amendment would have guaranteed three types of payments: interest on the debt, Social Security checks and active duty service member salaries, even if the debt ceiling weren’t raised.
Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulSenate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro Feehery: Freedom Caucus follies The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) introduced an unrelated amendment that would have prohibited the transfer of F-16s, M1 tanks and other defense items to Egypt. That was rejected on a 79-19 vote to table.
The last vote before final passage was on a motion to recommit the bill, introduced by Sen. David VitterDavid VitterFormer GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World Mercury brings on former Sen. Vitter, two others MORE (R-La.). His motion would have directed the Senate Finance Committee to find dollar-for-dollar spending offsets for this three-month debt ceiling suspension. It failed on a 53-45 vote — 60 votes were needed for passage.
Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchOvernight Finance: US preps cases linking North Korea to Fed heist | GOP chair says Dodd-Frank a 2017 priority | Chamber pushes lawmakers on Trump's trade pick | Labor nominee faces Senate US Chamber urges quick vote on USTR nominee Lighthizer Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE (R-Utah) urged his colleagues to immediately start work on a longer-term deal in order to reduce spending and raise the debt ceiling this summer.
“The bill before us would only eliminate the prospect of federal default until sometime in the summer,” Hatch said on the Senate floor. “That means if we go through regular order, we have only a few months at best to debate, have hearings, process proposals and make decisions.”