Home returns to stave off default by voting on debt limits
WASHINGTON (Associated Press) – Members of the House of Representatives will seek to return to Washington on Tuesday to approve a short-term raise of the country’s debt limit and ensure the federal government can continue to pay its bills in full through December.
The $480 billion increase in the nation’s borrowing ceiling led to the Senate’s liquidation last week in a party-line vote. It is expected to be approved quickly by the House of Representatives so that President Biden can sign it into law this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that steps to avoid a default on the country’s debt will be exhausted by Monday, and from that point on, the department will soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.
A default would have massive repercussions on global financial markets built on the solid foundation of US government debt. Routine government payments to Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, and active-duty military personnel would also be called into question.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said: “It is scandalous that our nation has been put in this place, but we must take immediate action to address the debt limits and ensure that the full faith and credit of the United States remains the same.” .
But the relief provided by passage of the law will only be temporary, forcing Congress to reconsider the issue in December — a time when lawmakers will also work to complete federal spending bills and avoid a damaging government shutdown. The year-end backlog raises risks for both parties and threatens to bring a turbulent approach to Biden’s first year in office.
The current standoff over the debt ceiling subsided when Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to help pass the short-term increase. But he insists he won’t do it again.
In a letter sent Friday to Biden, McConnell said Democrats will have to deal with the next increase in the debt limit themselves using the same process they tried to use to pass Biden’s plan for massive social and environmental spending. Reconciliation allows the legislation to pass the Senate with 51 votes instead of the normally required 60. In the 50-50 Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris gives Democrats a majority with her decider vote.
In his focus on the debt limit, McConnell has attempted to link Biden’s large federal government spending increase with the country’s growing debt burden, although they are separate and the debt ceiling will have to be raised or suspended regardless of whether Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan makes it fit. to law.
“Your aides on Capitol Hill now have time to claim that they lack addressing the debt ceiling through a stand-alone settlement, and all the tools needed to do so,” McConnell said in the letter. “They can’t invent another crisis and ask for my help.”
McConnell was one of 11 Republicans who sided with Democrats to submit a debt-ceiling delay to a final vote. Then, McConnell and his fellow Republicans voted against the last paragraph.
The agreement on short-term reform came suddenly. Some Republican senators said Democrats’ threats to scrap the 60-vote threshold for the debt ceiling — which Biden called a “real possibility” — played a role in McConnell’s decision.
“I understand why the Republican leadership has been waning, but I wish they didn’t,” said Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
The current debt ceiling is $28.4 trillion. Both parties have contributed to this burden with decisions that have left the government rarely working in black.
The tragic fallout from default is why lawmakers have been able to compromise to raise or suspend the debt ceiling nearly 18 times since 2002, often after repeated rounds of brinkmanship.
A recent report from Moody’s Analytics warned: “Global financial markets and the economy will be turned upside down, and even if resolved quickly, Americans will pay the price for this default for generations.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.