U.S. Lawmakers Reach Deal To Temporarily Raise Debt Ceiling

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill to help the government avoid a default on its debt in the coming weeks.

In a consequential vote, 11 Republicans joined all 50 Democrats to provide the minimum 60 votes needed to end debate and move the bill to final passage, which required a simple majority vote.

None of the Republicans who voted to end debate also then voted to pass the final bill. But for that, Democrats needed only 50 votes, because at least one Republican, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, was not present.

The U.S. faces a major economic disruption if Congress doesn’t raise or suspend the borrowing limit by October 18. Senators signed off on legislation that would keep the nation from reaching its debt limit until early December.

The agreement allows the debt limit to increase by $480 billion U.S., a sum the Treasury Department estimates will allow it to pay bills until December 3. The current national debt is about $28.4 trillion U.S. and would be permitted to rise to about $28.8 trillion U.S.

The bill now moves to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to take up the legislation in the coming days. The House is widely expected to approve the Senate’s version of the bill and send it to President Joe Biden before the October 18 deadline.