Biden Signs Bill to Avert Government Shutdown Hours Before Deadline But Debt Default Looms

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown, at least for two months, CNN reports.

Democrats tried to pressure Republicans to vote to raise the debt limit by pairing it with the bill to extend government funding and avert a shutdown but Republicans refused to go along, filibustering the legislation.

Senate Leader Chuck Schumer ultimately relented and put the stopgap bill to a standalone vote on Thursday.

The Senate voted 65-35 in favor of the bill, with 15 Republicans including Leader Mitch McConnell joining Democrats to extend government funding until December 3.

The House later approved the bill in a 254-175 vote.

"The passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to pass longer-term funding to keep our government running and delivering for the American people,” Biden said in a statement.

Debt ceiling next:

Congress still needs to raise the debt ceiling to avert a potential debt default on spending that has already been approved.

The Senate is pushing a standalone bill to raise the debt limit that already passed the House but it is guaranteed to be blocked with a Republican filibuster once again.

“Despite Republicans’ intransigence, the facts have not changed: we must raise the debt ceiling,” said Schumer. “We cannot allow America to default.”

The Treasury Department says Congress must raise the debt limit by October 18.

Republicans say Democrats should raise the debt limit themselves using the budget reconciliation process.

But Democrats in the Senate argue that it would be “too time-consuming and complex to use it to address the national debt.”

Yellen wants to remove debt ceiling:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers that the debt ceiling should be eliminated altogether.

Yellen said during a House hearing that she supports a bill introduced in May to repeal the national debt ceiling, arguing that if Congress makes decisions on taxes and spending it should ensure that the country is able to continue to pay for those obligations.

“If to finance those spending and tax decisions, it’s necessary to issue additional debt, I believe it’s very disruptive to put the president and myself, the Treasury secretary, in a situation where we might be unable to pay the bills that result from those past decisions,” she said.


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