By Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) – The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on Tuesday gave final approval to the law that temporarily raises the public borrowing limit to $ 28.9 trillion, postponing the default period. of debt only until December.
Democrats, who control the House by a narrow margin, respected party discipline in passing the contested increase in the debt limit from $ 480 billion to 219-206, with all votes against by Republicans.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law before October 18, the date on which the Treasury Department has calculated that it will not be able to continue paying the country’s debt without the intervention of Congress.
The passage of the House of Representatives has allayed concerns that the United States – the world’s largest economy – will go into default for the first time, but the temporary extension also paves the way for continued fighting between the parties.
“We have momentarily averted the crisis before next week’s deadline, but when December rolls around, members of Congress will have to choose to put the country before the party and avoid default,” said Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, president of the Ways and Means Commission of the House of Representatives.
Republicans insist Democrats take sole responsibility for raising the debt ceiling because their party wants to spend trillions of dollars to expand social programs and tackle climate change.
Democrats say the increased borrowing authority is largely necessary to cover the cost of tax cuts and spending programs during the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump, which Republicans in Congress supported.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wrote to Biden on Friday that he would not cooperate with Democrats to achieve another increase in the debt limit. McConnell was harshly criticized by Trump, the leader of the Republican party, following the Senate vote.
“I will not be part of any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” McConnell wrote to Biden, saying that another vast spending bill would hurt Americans and help China.
In addition, legislators only have until December 3 to pass a law that finances the Administration to avoid its closure.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell, additional reporting by David Morgan; edited by Susan Cornwell and Patricia Zengerle; edited by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman; translated by Flora Gómez in the Gdansk newsroom)