House Passes Debt Limit Extension To Avert U.S. Default

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to meet with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, before the House convenes to pass a short-term lift of the nation's debt limit. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House on Tuesday passed an extension of the debt ceiling, averting the threat of a default until at least Dec. 3.

The vote was 219-206, a party line vote for the $480 billion increase. The legislation now goes to President Joe Biden, who plans to sign it.

The Senate passed an extension last week, after a standoff between Democrats and Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been insistent that Democrats bear responsibility as they look to pass massive new infrastructure and social policy legislation. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer noted that the raising of the debt ceiling, typically bipartisan, was for spending that already had been appropriated by Congress, including during the tenure of Donald Trump.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had said that the U.S. risked being unable to meet its obligations after Oct. 18.

Still, even though a crisis was averted, the question is how the ceiling will be raised come December, with another showdown possible in the Senate.

McConnell is insisting that Democrats do it on their own via a process called reconciliation, requiring a simple majority vote. But Schumer and other Democrats say that Republicans refuse to go with the simplest path, a standalone bill. That also could pass by simple majority vote, but only if Republicans agree not to raise the threat of a filibuster.

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