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House approves 2-month debt-limit extension, teeing up another showdown with McConnell's GOP in December

Business Insider
Business Insider
 2021-10-12

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • The House passed a two-month debt-limit patch, buying time until the US approaches default again.
  • "This is America's debt," Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a floor speech ahead of the vote.
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell is still hoping to force Democrats to pursue a further increase unilaterally.

The House on Tuesday approved a two-month debt-limit patch that would run through early December, sending the bill to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature. It amounts to a momentary reprieve as Senate Republicans are pledging to block any further renewal of America's ability to repay its bills.

Tuesday's vote was 219-206, with every House Republican who voted opposing the measure. Democrats relied on a procedural maneuver packaging the bill - which cleared the Senate last week - with votes on other measures.

The bill, once signed, staves off a catastrophic federal default that the Treasury Department projected would occur in six days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a speech before the vote, saying he "was playing Russian Roulette with the economy."

"This is our debt. This is America's debt," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a floor speech.

Another showdown looms in December, however, with McConnell vowing to block any effort to further raise the debt limit. His opposition is designed to force Democrats to enact any additional increase on their own using a party-line mechanism called reconciliation.

"I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement," the Kentucky Republican wrote in a scathing letter to Biden on Friday. "Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling."

McConnell argued Democrats must employ the arduous reconciliation procedure to approve a debt-limit hike unilaterally, the same demand he's made since July. The process allows some measures to be passed with only a simple majority, shielding it from the filibuster's 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

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