The Senate voted on Tuesday to raise the national debt limit by $2.5 trillion and extend it into 2023. The House will next have to approve the legislation before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The final tally for the Senate vote, which fell along party lines, was 50 to 49.
Lawmakers raced to avert a catastrophic default ahead of a critical midweek deadline. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the debt limit could be reached on December 15, leaving Congress little time left to resolve the issue. A first-ever default would spark economic disaster and party leaders on both sides of the aisle have made clear it must be prevented.
It had been expected that Democrats would raise the limit by an amount sufficient to ensure that the issue will not need to be addressed again until after the 2022 midterm elections. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier on Tuesday that the Senate would vote to raise the debt ceiling to a level that will extend the limit into 2023. The newly created and temporary one-time process that lawmakers approved allowed Senate Democrats to take up and pass a bill to increase the debt limit by a specific dollar amount and a simple majority vote.
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