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President Biden on Saturday signed legislation to raise the debt ceiling into 2025 and avert a default, marking a significant bipartisan accomplishment amid divided government in Washington, D.C.
The president signed the bill just days before Treasury officials warned the department would run out of money to pay the nation’s bills, potentially triggering a recession and harming the economy.
In addition to raising the debt ceiling, the bill includes agreements on spending caps, claws back unused COVID-19 relief funds, adds work requirements for certain individuals getting government assistance and rescinds some of the funding provided to the IRS in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
But the bill otherwise leaves many Democratic priorities enacted during the last Congress untouched, and it does not include any new work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
The Senate passed the bill on Thursday night with a bipartisan 63-36 vote. The House had passed the measure a day earlier in similarly bipartisan fashion, with a 314-117 vote.
Members of both parties found items in the legislation to dislike. Many conservative Republicans felt the agreement did not do enough to curb government spending, while progressive Democrats were particularly upset by the additional work requirements.
The legislation was the product of weeks of negotiations between Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and their respective teams.
Punting the debt ceiling issue beyond the 2024 election gives Biden and other lawmakers running for reelection a reprieve, as it takes the possibility of default off the table.
Biden and his team had for months insisted there would be no negotiations about the debt ceiling. Ultimately, the White House came to the negotiating table, but insisted it was for budget talks, not the debt ceiling.
White House allies praised the deal as more evidence of Biden’s ability to work across the aisle and cut deals while ensuring his priorities are protected, a contrast they are eager to hold up compared to leading GOP candidates who frequently attack Democratic rivals and show little interest in bipartisanship.
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