U.S. Senate passes, sends Biden bill paving way for debt limit hike


By Richard Cowan and David Morgan

WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed and sent to President Joe Biden the first of two bills needed to raise the federal government’s $28.9 trillion debt limit and avert an unprecedented default.

The Senate voted 59-35 for the measure, with 10 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, backing the bill. The Republican said earlier this week that he believed the procedure was in the best interests of the country because it avoids default.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the legislation on Wednesday night by 222-212, with only one Republican backing it. read more

Biden is expected to promptly sign the unusual procedural measure that allows a second bill, which would actually increase government borrowing authority, to pass in coming days.

“I’m optimistic that after today’s vote, we will be on a glide path to avoid a catastrophic default,” the chamber’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said in a speech before the vote on a measure he negotiated with McConnell to speed passage.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the limit before next Wednesday and Congress now appears to be on track to achieve that.

Final votes on the second, debt-limit implementing bill are expected in the Senate and House by Tuesday.

Republicans have been maneuvering for months to try to force Democrats to raise the debt limit on their own, seeking to link the move to President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” domestic spending bill.

Democrats note that the legislation is needed to finance substantial debt incurred during Donald Trump’s administration, when Republicans willingly jacked up Washington’s credit card bill by about $7.85 trillion, partly through sweeping tax cuts and spending to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still to come in the prolonged legislative battle is a disclosure of the actual dollar amount for the new cap on Treasury’s borrowing, which is expected to cover Washington’s expenses through the 2022 midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.


Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is up for re-election in Alaska next year, told reporters that she voted earlier with 13 other Republicans to advance the first bill because “it was the right thing to do.”

She added that at a time when Russia is amassing troops on its border with Ukraine, “we don’t need to be sending signals anywhere in the world that we’re not going to back the full faith and credit in the United States.”

Some Republicans, including Senator Shelley Moore Capito, said they were backing the measure because it included provisions to avoid cuts otherwise set to take place next year in the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly.

But Republican Senator Mike Rounds said he voted no because “they (Democrats) have been spending money on a partisan basis without input from Republicans. So they have the obligation to increase the debt ceiling at this point.”

The break in the legislative deadlock came just two months after Congress agreed on a short-term lift to the debt ceiling, to avert an unprecedented default by the federal government on its obligations, which would have dire implications for the world economy.

In recent years, lawmakers have squirmed over raising the statutory limit on the country’s growing debt, fearing voter backlash.

The emergence in 2010 of the conservative, small-government “Tea Party” movement increased the rancor in Congress over such legislation, even as lawmakers voted for tax cuts and spending increases that contribute to the debt.

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Ousman Jah Web Developer and Graphic Designer Ousman Jah a Gambian national specialized in IT solutions and web development with more than 15 years working experience in the field. A graphics designer and specialist in UX/UI with a plethora of neatly acquired abilities for today’s web design and development. He contributed to most top-level national projects both in the Gambia, Senegal and internationally. He was one of the main actors and contributors to the GAMBIS project on both setting up and design of the National ID, Driver's License Cards etc. He also built and assisted on the IEC website to display live election results online in the 2011 and 2016 Presidential Elections. He has vast experience ranging from administration, HR, Tech departments in management and handling. Also experienced in the new technologies such as cloud hosting, Google Workspace email setting up and worked on Azure as well as AWS services. He was the SharePoint specialist as well as CRM to both customers and company. As part of his expertise, he masters eCard design and implementation with vast experience gained from the GAMBIS ID card project. With an extensive knowledge on a lot of subjects, Ousman believes he is part of the People of the Arts, Sciences, Music, Mathematics, Philosophy... but he chose Creative Arts into Modernized World Modern Design Needs and Technology in the IT World. Over the years, Ousman has managed to blend his passion for Graphic design with modern software technology applications. He studied at the Management Development Institute and earned an ICM Certificate in Professional Computing & Information Processing. Ousman’s strength lies in his ability to respond to multiple tasks where quality is an assured feature. Calm, focus and meticulous makes his fine finishes an envy of other designers in the market. He is a specialist in user manual & documentation illustration as well as a great trainer in any IT related field. He enjoys being a freelance web developer at Web Plus Graphics and has setup various platforms of national interest among which Gambia All Events, Gambian Legends and JobLinks. He is the current Web manager of Alkamba Times.


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