The temporary measure would raise the federal government's debt limit by US$480 billion, which would allow the U.S. Treasury Department to meet obligations through Dec. 3.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to increase the nation's borrowing limit in the short term to avert a looming debt default.
The House voted 219-206 along party lines to adopt a procedural rule, which automatically deemed as passed the short-term debt limit extension that the Senate approved last week. The temporary measure would raise the federal government's debt limit by US$480 billion, which would allow the U.S. Treasury Department to meet obligations through Dec. 3.
The congressional approval of the temporary measure came as the Congress faces an Oct. 18 deadline to take action. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently warned that lawmakers have until this date to raise or suspend the debt limit before the federal government will likely run out of cash and extraordinary measures, possibly leading the United States to default on the national debt.
Another stopgap measure to fund the federal government also expires on Dec. 3, meaning Democrats and Republicans will have to reach a deal by early December to avoid the twin threats of a shutdown and a default.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, said that he will not provide "such assistance" again if his "all-Democrat government" drifts into another "avoidable crisis," adding the Democrats had three months' notice to handle the issue. He argued that Democrats should deal with the debt limit crisis on their own, since they control both chambers of Congress and the White House.
Democrats, however, noted that raising the debt limit does not authorize new federal spending, but only allows the Treasury Department to borrow additional funds to cover expenditures that have already been approved by Congress, including COVID-19 relief bills and the tax cuts rolled out during the previous administration of President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said that it is "highly unproductive" to bicker over the U.S. debt ceiling.
"A point that we have been making for a while now is to have a more long-term solution to it... And that could be done by replacing the debt ceiling with some kind of a medium term fiscal target, as opposed to the debt ceiling, or, automatically raising the debt ceiling whenever, to be in line with whatever it is in terms of taxes and appropriations that the Congress has approved, so it happens automatically," she said.
Former #Facebook employee Frances Haugen told the US Congress that the multinational tech company must be seriously regulated after leaking internal documents revealing Facebook knows of the harm caused by its profitable algorithms. pic.twitter.com/pPEEvdRGUa— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 13, 2021