WASHINGTON – With only days to spare, the Senate passed the debt ceiling and budget cut bill, sending it to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it.
The bill restricts spending for two years and suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025. It also changes requirements for older Americans who receive food aid and gives the go-ahead for an Appalachian natural gas line, The Associated Press reported.
The deal was first approved by the House earlier this week after being negotiated by the president and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The House needed only a simple majority and passed the bill 314-117 on Wednesday night.
CNN reported that 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats voted for it, with 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats voting no, and sent it to the Senate.
The upper house had a similar vote to approve the bill — 63-36 — with centrists of both the Republican and Democratic parties helping to push it over the finish line. The Democrats led the charge.
Four Democratic senators and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voted against the bill along with 31 Republicans. Voting yes: 44 Democrats, 17 Republicans and independents Angus King, I-Maine, and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., the Post reported.
But a couple of potential roadblocks would have sent the bill back to the House.
Several amendments had to be voted on before the final 99-page bill would be taken up. If even one of the amendments had been approved, the bill would have been sent back to the House. But none of the proposals were adopted, The Washington Post reported.
Thursday was the initial deadline for when the Treasury would have run out of money to pay the nation’s debts, but that was revised to Monday.
Biden said he would sign the bill as soon as possible. He plans to address the country at 7 p.m. EDT Friday, the AP reported.
“Our work is far from finished, but this agreement is a critical step forward, and a reminder of what’s possible when we act in the best interests of our country,” Biden said in a statement after the vote, according to the Post. “I look forward to signing this bill into law as soon as possible and addressing the American people directly tomorrow.”
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