US Senate approves debt ceiling raise, avoids payment default

Washington, June 1 (EFE).- The United States Senate approved Thursday the agreement reached between the White House and Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, preventing the country from defaulting on its payments.

With 63 votes in favor and 36 against, the bill passed the last legislative hurdle before President Joe Biden signs it.

The draft was approved by the Senate one day after the Lower House, with a Republican majority, gave it its approval and four days before the deadline set by the Treasury Department in which the US would have been able to default on its national debt.

“The United States can breathe easy because with this process we are avoiding default,” Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer said.

Schumer announced an agreement with a group of wayward Republican senators who, shortly before, had threatened to lengthen the process if Democrats did not commit to ensuring increasing the defense budget.

After his speech, he began a long process of proposing amendments that, however, failed to prevent the bill from being ratified as approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

The measure suspends the debt ceiling for the next two years, until after the November 2024 presidential elections. Specifically, it suspends the current debt limit of $31.4 trillion until January 1, 2025.

In exchange, the agreement reached over the weekend between the White House and the Republicans in the Lower House contemplates, among other things, caps on spending on programs financed by Congress in areas such as health, education, justice or environmental protection.

Under that pact, non-defense spending will stay the same in fiscal year 2024 and increase 1 percent in the fiscal year 2025.

Likewise, it tightens the work requirements to access social benefits, such as food stamps, and rescinds unspent $ 28 billion that had been assigned to aid programs against the pandemic.

Before the debate, Schumer said the chamber would remain in session until this bill passed, warning that any “unnecessary delay” would be “an unnecessary and even dangerous risk.”

The approval of the agreement in both chambers of congress was crucial so that the country did not default on its public debt, after the debt ceiling was reached last January, the legal limit to the money that the US can request to borrow to meet its commitments. EFE


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