House passes bill to prevent shutdown and suspend debt limit

The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would prevent a government shutdown and suspend the debt limit ahead of looming deadlines with only days to spare, although the measure is set to run into a GOP wall in the Senate.

The bill passed on a party-line vote of 220-211.

It now heads to the Senate, where at least 10 Republicans would need to join with all Democrats for passage. 

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Nearly every Republican senator has said that they will oppose a debt limit suspension, arguing that Democrats should instead act on their own through the budget reconciliation process that can circumvent a filibuster and is being used for the $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Democrats are nonetheless attaching the debt limit suspension through Dec. 16, 2022, to a must-pass bill to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1 in an attempt to pressure Republicans to drop their threats.

It’s also unclear if the reconciliation package would be ready in time to be used as a legislative vehicle for addressing the debt limit.

The debt limit was reinstated on Aug. 1, and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money — Build Back Better takes a 'Byrd Bath' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE has said that if Congress doesn’t raise or suspend the ceiling, the federal government will be unable to pay its bills sometime in October.

Democrats further noted that they voted with Republicans multiple times to suspend the debt limit during the Trump administration and argued the issue should continue to be addressed on a bipartisan basis to ensure that the U.S. meets its obligations on debt that’s already incurred.

“I hope Republicans will be consistent and will do as they did before: vote to prevent a default and spare the American people from yet another damaging economic crisis right as we are coming out of a pandemic,” said House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money — Build Back Better takes a 'Byrd Bath' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE (D-Md.).

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“This is not a Democratic debt. It's not a Republican debt. It is our debt. It is the debt of the United States of America. We don't welch on our debts. We pay our debts,” he said.

Republicans insisted that they will not back a measure to prevent the nation from defaulting on its debt obligations.

“The bill that Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] is bringing through this week will not become law. They're going to have to go back to the drawing board,” said House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' House sets up Senate shutdown showdown GOP beginning to jockey for post-election leadership slots MORE (R-La.).

The stopgap bill would fund federal agencies through Dec. 3, which would give Congress time to complete work on long-term appropriations bills by then.

The bill also includes $28.6 billion to provide relief following recent natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms.

At least one Louisiana Republican, Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE, has said he will likely vote for the legislation because of the disaster aid that would go to his state, which was ravaged by Hurricane Ida. Louisiana’s other senator, Republican Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist Legislators look to expand health care access through telehealth, biosimilars Infrastructure deal is proof that Congress can still do good, bipartisan work MORE, hasn’t yet said how he’ll vote.

But other Louisiana Republicans are urging their colleagues to vote against the bill because of the debt limit suspension despite the disaster aid, including Scalise and Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonGOP beginning to jockey for post-election leadership slots Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon officials get grilling from House House lawmakers press Pentagon over Afghanistan withdrawal MORE, who serves as vice chairman of the House GOP conference.

“We wanted that to be a stand-alone bill, and I think in the end it will be separated from this package before it's all said and done, I think by the end of next week,” Scalise said.

The legislation also includes $6.3 billion to temporarily provide shelter for Afghan refugees at American facilities and in foreign countries as well as for resettlement efforts in the U.S.

House Democrats faced an internal hiccup on Tuesday when some progressives objected to a provision that was initially in the bill to provide $1 billion for supporting Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.

Since House Democrats can afford only three defections and still pass legislation on their own without any assistance from Republicans, leaders worked to ensure they could keep their caucus in line. The provision was subsequently removed from the bill, hours after it was originally unveiled.

Hoyer announced during the House floor debate on Tuesday that he plans to bring a separate bill on Iron Dome funding this week.

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House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroHouse sets up Senate shutdown showdown The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron Schumer warns of 'Republican anti-vaccine shutdown' MORE (D-Conn.) also said during a House Rules Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon that she is committed to including additional funding for Israel in the final fiscal 2022 defense appropriations bill.

“The United States must fully live up to our commitments to our friend and our ally Israel,” she said.

DeLauro added that there would be no interruption in funding to the Iron Dome. She said the bill continues funding appropriated for fiscal 2021 for Israeli cooperative programs.

Centrist Democrats expressed frustration with their progressive colleagues for demanding the removal of the Iron Dome funding.

“I’m outraged and dismayed that some of my colleagues object to helping Israel defend itself from rocket attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists,” said Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Florida Republicans debate how far to push congressional remap Five takeaways: House passes Biden's sweeping benefits bill MORE (D-Fla.), a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition. “America must support our ally Israel.”