Democratic-run Washington appears set to avoid a U.S. default in the near term, with the House’s majority leader promising a vote late Tuesday on a bill raising the federal borrowing limit after the Senate acted last week.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has “said that if the House fails to act next week, the country will be unable to pay its bills,” said the No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, in a news release shortly after the Senate’s vote late Thursday. “This cannot happen. Therefore, the House will convene on Tuesday, October 12, to pass this stopgap measure, and I expect we will complete our work that evening.”
The House’s vote on increasing the debt limit is slated to come after 5 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, and it’s expected to go along party lines in the chamber, where Democrats have a three-seat majority. The increase is included in a measure that also addresses other unrelated bills, Hoyer’s office said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Thursday night’s votes in the Senate represent “welcome steps forward in averting a default that would have been devastating for our economy and for working families.”
“President Biden looks forward to signing this bill as soon as it passes the House and reaches his desk,” she added.
The Senate approved a $480 billion increase in the debt ceiling, allowing for federal borrowing until Dec. 3, when funding for the federal government is also due to end.
“The debt extension just kicks the can to December when Congress will have to address the debt ceiling again,” analysts at Height Capital Markets said in a note.
Other analysts have predicted the new “X Date” for the Treasury Department, meaning when it would exhaust what are known as extraordinary measures and lack the cash to meet all its financial obligations, could come in 2022’s first quarter.
Following a long standoff on raising the debt limit, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell late Wednesday proposed the short-term lift, passed through normal procedures. The Kentucky Republican then vowed in a Friday letter to Biden that Senate Democrats must go it alone next time and lift the debt ceiling through a process known as budget reconciliation, saying a fiery speech late Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, “alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch.”
This is an updated version of a story first published on Oct. 8, 2021.