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U.S. Congress approves bill to raise debt limit after Senate passage

Christian Fernsby |
The U.S. Congress approved the bill to raise America's debt ceiling after the Senate's passage late Thursday, the 103rd time since 1945, allowing the government to avert a debt default by borrowing more.

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The Senate approved the bill by a 63-36 vote. Previously okayed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 314 to 117, the act suspends the debt ceiling until Jan. 2025.

The debt ceiling is a cap on the total amount of money that the United States is authorized to borrow to fund the government and meet its financial obligations.

The United States reached in January its debt limit of 31.4 trillion U.S. dollars, more than 120 percent of its annual GDP.

For months, as the White House and Congress were locked in a tug-of-war over terms of lifting the debt ceiling, the Treasury Department has been using "extraordinary measures" to avoid default.

The deal was a make-or-break bid to steer the U.S. government away from a perilous debt cliff, as U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the country could run out of money to pay its bills on time if Congress failed to address the debt ceiling by June 5.

With Congress's approval, the bill will be sent to U.S. President Joe Biden's desk for his signature before becoming law.

As with previous debt-ceiling sagas, the passage of the deal represents a trade-off of partisan interests following a months-long game of chicken between Democrats and Republicans, with each side trying to use an imminent default as a bargaining chip for advancing their own political agenda.

Both parties have been selling the deal as a victory for their own side, but not all are pleased with the result.

"It is frankly an insult to the American people to support a piece of legislation that continues to put our country's financial future at risk," U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale, a Republican from the U.S. state of Montana, lamented in a statement.


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