US Senate approves short-term debt limit increase to avert default
The US Senate has approved a bill to increase the nation's borrowing limit in the short term to avert a looming debt default.
Late Thursday night, the Senate voted 50-48 along party lines to raise the federal government's debt limit by $480 billion, which would allow the Treasury Department to meet obligations through December 3, reports Xinhua news agency.
The vote came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Thursday morning that he had reached an agreement with Republicans to extend the debt limit into December.
The short-term debt limit increase still needs a vote in the House of Representatives, which is currently on a break through next week, according to local media.
The White House on Thursday called the bill a "positive step forward", signalling support for it.
"And it gives us some breathing room from the catastrophic default we were approaching because of Senator (Mitch) McConnell's decision to play politics with our economy," White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
"Addressing the debt limit shouldn't be a partisan football. This is about paying the debt that both parties have already incurred," Jean-Pierre said.
As part of a bipartisan budget deal enacted in August 2019, Congress suspended the debt limit through July 31.
After the debt limit was reinstated on August 1, the Treasury Department began using "extraordinary measures" to continue to finance the government on a temporary basis.
The debt limit, commonly called the debt ceiling, is the total amount of money that the US government is authorised to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including social security and medicare benefits, interest on the national debt, and other payments - IANS
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