Jul 25, 2019

House votes to suspend debt ceiling through 2021

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The House voted 284-149 on Thursday to pass a budget that suspends the debt ceiling through 2021 — allowing the government to borrow money for 2 more years — and raises spending caps by about $320 billion.

The big picture: The federal debt exceeded $22 trillion in February and the Congressional Budget Office projects it to reach "unprecedented levels" over the next 30 years if current laws go unchanged. The federal deficit has grown 23% this fiscal year. Thursday's deal passes the buck on the next federal debt showdown until after the 2020 elections.

  • The package includes a $22 billion increase in military spending for 2020 and a Democrat-supported $27 billion increase for non-defense spending. Those budgets will increase by $24.5 billion and $29.5 billion in 2021.
  • The deal also sets aside $2.5 billion to ensure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census, according to a senior Democratic aide.

The state of play: The deal still has to pass the Senate, but Trump's recent endorsement is expected to sway some Republicans. Mnuchin extended the debt issuance suspension period on Thursday to allow Congress to pass its deal on the debt ceiling.

The other side, via Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon: "There is no evidence from 240 years of American history that the level of the national debt has ever really mattered."

  • "The U.S. prints its own currency and can borrow as much as it likes, increasingly from domestic investors. Per [Warren] Buffett, deficit hawks have preached doom for decades. They have never been proven correct."

Go deeper: The national debt has soared past $22 trillion, but it might not matter

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.