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 Ann AyottePoll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate MORE (N.H.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP hopes spending traps derail Biden agenda A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Senate passes infrastructure bill, budget resolution; Cuomo resigns MORE (Mo.), Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom line Bottom line Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future MORE (Miss.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (Maine), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (S.C.), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Democrat Jacky Rosen becomes 22nd senator to back bipartisan infrastructure deal 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (Nev.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenThe 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (N.D.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (Ariz.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee Trump endorses GOP challenger to Upton over impeachment vote Businesses want Congress to support safe, quality jobs — so do nearly all Americans MORE (Alaska), Richard Shelby (Ala.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate MORE (S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal NY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case Florida Democrat becomes latest breakthrough COVID-19 case in House MORE (Miss.) voted with the Democratic caucus to pass the legislation. Only one Democrat — Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles House Democrat says she won't support reconciliation bill 'at this early stage' MORE (W.Va.)— voted against the bill.
Two Democrats — Sens. John KerryJohn Kerry9/11 and US-China policy: The geopolitics of distraction Australia's duty to the world: Stop mining coal Overnight Energy & Environment — Effort to repeal Arctic refuge drilling advances MORE (Mass.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayConservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Support the budget resolution to ensure a critical investment in child care Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama 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 CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race Cyber preparedness could save America's 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' 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 Mason ReidDemocrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Justice Breyer issues warning on remaking Supreme Court: 'What goes around comes around' 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 PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken McConnell: Republicans 'united in opposition to raising the debt ceiling' 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 PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? 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 Bruce VitterBiden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Bottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic 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 Grant HatchCongress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 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.”