Biden praises passage of bipartisan debt ceiling bill

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with leaders of his federal emergency preparedness and response team during the annual briefing on extreme weather preparedness, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci/AP

Biden praises passage of bipartisan debt ceiling bill

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President Joe Biden praised the House of Representatives’ passage of a new bipartisan debt ceiling bill on Wednesday, just days before the Treasury Department’s deadline.

The bill, which passed in a 314-117 vote that saw lawmakers cross the political aisle, includes compromises on government spending by protecting social programs such as Social Security and Medicaid, but it allows Republicans to reclaim unspent COVID-19 relief and reduce funding for the IRS.

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“Tonight, the House took a critical step forward to prevent a first-ever default and protect our country’s hard-earned and historic economic recovery,” Biden said in a statement. “This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing.”

The 99-page bill was filed on Sunday evening, starting a 72-hour clock for members to read the text and decide their vote. The bill proposes suspending the nation’s debt ceiling until Jan. 1, 2025, putting off another debt ceiling showdown until after the 2024 presidential election.

The vote comes after a massive whip operation by both parties, with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) delivering House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) the support needed to get the bill across the finish line. It also comes after monthslong negotiations between the White House and Congress and five days ahead of a Treasury Department imposed deadline to avoid a default.

“This agreement is good news for the American people and the American economy,” Biden said. “I have been clear that the only path forward is a bipartisan compromise that can earn the support of both parties. This agreement meets that test.”

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Biden added that he strongly encourages the Senate to pass the same bill in their vote later this week. The bill will then advance to the president’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law.

The United States reached its debt ceiling in January, but Congress was given a June deadline until the federal government would be unable to pay its bills.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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