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Biden Signs Debt Limit Hike            10/15 06:03

   President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill raising the nation's 
debt limit until early December, delaying the prospect of an unprecedented 
federal default that would cause economic disaster.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill 
raising the nation's debt limit until early December, delaying the prospect of 
an unprecedented federal default that would cause economic disaster.

   The House passed the $480 billion increase in the country's borrowing 
ceiling on Tuesday, after the Senate approved it on a party-line vote last 
week. The eventual approval came after a protracted standoff with Senate 
Republicans, who derailed initial Democratic efforts with filibusters, delays 
that require 60 votes to halt.

   Ultimately, a handful of Senate Republicans agreed to join Democrats and 
voted to end GOP delays and move to a final vote on the legislation, but 
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans will offer no support for 
another increase in December.

   Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that the U.S. would hit its 
borrowing limit Monday, an unprecedented situation that she and others 
cautioned could lead to economic catastrophe for a nation still reeling from a 
global pandemic. Routine government payments to Social Security beneficiaries, 
disabled veterans and active-duty military personnel would potentially be 
delayed, and the economic fallout in the U.S. could ripple through global 
markets.

   The passage of the short-term debt ceiling increase ensures that, for now, 
the U.S. will continue to meet its obligations. But it sets up another 
potential cliff at the end of the year -- at a time when lawmakers will also be 
working to pass a federal funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

   Republicans have said Democrats should use a budgetary maneuver to pass an 
increase in the debt limit without Republican support, like the process 
Democrats are using for Biden's massive climate change and social safety net 
plan. But Democrats have resisted that option. The clash between the two 
parties leaves Congress without a clear solution to avert the next default 
deadline in December, but the White House has emphasized it is still pursuing a 
bipartisan increase.

   Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage for 
other priorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to vote against raising 
the debt ceiling when President Donald Trump was in office, saying she had no 
intention of supporting lifting the debt ceiling to enable Republicans to give 
another tax break to the rich. And Republicans in 2011 managed to coerce 
President Barack Obama into accepting about $2 trillion in deficit cuts as a 
condition for increasing the debt limit -- though lawmakers later rolled back 
some of those cuts.

 
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