Updated Dec 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress passes $2.5 trillion debt ceiling hike

Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House voted early Wednesday 221-209 to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion, which will extend it beyond the 2022 midterms.

Driving the news: The measure, advanced by Senate Democrats earlier on Tuesday, now heads to the president's desk for a signature.

  • It passed just under the wire to meet Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's Dec. 15 deadline to deal with the debt limit or risk a potential default.
  • This is the largest increase in recent history and follows House and Senate leaders clinching a deal with Republicans that created a one-time, fast-track process enabling the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, rather than the 60 typically needed to overcome the filibuster.
  • The reason for the complex process is to allow Republicans to say they didn't vote for increasing the debt limit, despite clearing the path for Democrats to do it on their own.
  • This is also a huge victory for Democratic leaders, given most in the Capitol expected the process to be brutal and messy.

Go deeper: Senate leaders sell members on debt limit deal

Editor’s note: The Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling on Tuesday, not Monday.

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