Biden signs debt ceiling increase, averting default

President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE on Thursday signed a bill raising the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion, narrowly averting default on the nation’s debt.

The measure passed the Senate Tuesday afternoon in a 50-49 vote that was strictly along party lines after Democrats and Republicans reached a deal to sidestep the filibuster.

The House moved to pass the bill late Tuesday in a 221-209 vote with one Republican member voting in favor, sending it to Biden’s desk for his signature.


Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenYellen: US has 'much more work' to close racial wealth gap The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat There's still time to stop Biden's global minimum tax grab MORE had warned Congress that the federal government could default on its debt soon after Wednesday without action to raise the debt limit. As the Senate passed the measure Tuesday, the White House urged “quick action” on the bill and commended Senate leaders for “fulfilling this fundamental legislative and constitutional responsibility.”

The action means that the U.S. will avoid default until at least 2023.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Hundreds attend mass funeral for victims of Bronx apartment building fire Romney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rights MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ky.) reached an agreement last week to allow a one-time exemption from the filibuster to approve the debt ceiling hike with a simple majority vote. The Senate voted to pass the exemption last week with modest GOP support, though some Republicans criticized the agreement. GOP senators uniformly voted against the debt ceiling increase on Tuesday.

Republicans had demanded repeatedly that Democrats raise the debt ceiling on their own using budget reconciliation, the same process through which they’re aiming to pass Biden’s mammoth climate and social policy bill.

But the White House had urged bipartisan action to raise the debt ceiling, pointing to the handful of times that Democrats voted with Republicans to raise the debt limit during the Trump administration.


Nevertheless, the passage of the bill is good news for Biden, who now has one less pressing legislative issue to address before the Christmas holiday. Biden is hoping to see the Senate advance his climate and social spending package by next week, though continued doubts from Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Martin Luther King III: Biden, senators need to use same energy to pass voting rights as they did for infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.) have raised questions about the degree to which that is possible.

Biden spoke with Manchin on Monday in what the White House described as a “constructive” conversation, but the discussions seemed to break down on Wednesday, leaving the fate of the package in doubt. 

Updated at 12:05 p.m.