Oct 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House temporarily raises debt ceiling, averting default


Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House of Representatives followed the Senate on Tuesday, voting 219-206 along party lines to raise the federal debt ceiling and officially avert a potential default.

Why it matters: While Congress has pushed off the debt limit issue for now, the fight over a final resolution will be even uglier come December — when lawmakers need to address the problem once again.

  • The $480 billion increase will allow the government to avoid a default at least until Dec. 3.
  • By then, the two parties will likely be in the same spot they were just a week ago: Republicans obstructing Democrats' efforts to lift the ceiling, and Democrats insisting they won't extend it unilaterally via the budget reconciliation process.
  • Meanwhile, Congress will also face a series of other deadlines in December — including funding the government, annual defense spending, President Biden's infrastructure package and Democrats' roughly $2 trillion social spending package, among other legislative priorities.

Details: The House flew back for a day from recess to deal with the debt limit issue. More than 150 members voted by proxy to avoid the trip.

  • Some Republicans, who have consistently stated their opposition to helping Democrats deal with the debt ceiling, were frustrated by Tuesday's legislative business, given the House didn't even vote directly on the Senate-passed debt limit extension.
  • Instead, the bill was "deemed" passed after lawmakers voted on a rule governing debate for three other bills that incorporated the debt ceiling increase.
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