Oct 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate reaches agreement to raise debt ceiling through early December

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks on the phone as he arrives on Capitol Hill on October 06, 2021

Sen. Chuck Schumer, Oct. 6. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday that Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December.

Driving the news: The agreement is to raise the limit by $480 billion, which is what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says is needed to get to Dec. 3, a Senate leadership aide told Axios.

Why it matters: The agreement comes less than two weeks before Oct. 18, the date Yellen warned that the U.S. would default on its debt.

What they're saying: "We have reached agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December, and it’s our hope we can get this done as soon as today," Schumer said on the Senate floor.

  • "This is a positive step forward ... and it gives us some breathing room from the catastrophic default we were approaching because of Senator McConnell's decision to play politics with our economy," White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing on Thursday.
  • "We've been in close contact with leader Schumer's team, and we will remain so as the bill moves forward and gets to the President's desk."

The big picture: Schumer's announcement comes less than one day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered Democrats a deal to avoid a government default.

  • McConnell's proposal detailed two options, including the short-term debt limit increase through December, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
  • The other proposal was to fast-track the suspension of the debt limit using the budget reconciliation process, which Democrats have generally opposed.
  • McConnell said in a statement Wednesday: "We have already made it clear we would assist in expediting the [budget] reconciliation process for stand-alone debt-limit legislation."

Go deeper: McConnell proposes debt limit deal

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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