By Chris Megerian (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — With two days left on Saturday, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill that would raise the national debt ceiling and avoid an unprecedented federal default.
This rocked financial markets at home and abroad, prompting anxious retirees and social services groups to make contingency plans in case the state fails to pay all its bills. It was a decidedly understated denouement.
Instead of holding a public ceremony with bipartisan lawmakers, the president will reflect the tough deadlines facing the country’s leaders to demonstrate the bipartisanness Biden referred to in his Friday night Oval Office address. and signed the bill privately.
The Treasury Department had warned that a domestic funding shortage would begin on Monday, shocking the US and global economy.
The White House released a photo of the president signing the bill at the resolution desk. In a brief statement, Mr. Biden thanked the Democratic and Republican congressional leaders for their partnership, a heartfelt message that contrasted with the animosity that initially characterized the debt debate.
“No matter how tough politics get, we need to see each other not as adversaries, but as fellow Americans,” Biden said in a video message released after the deal was signed. He said it was important to “stop screaming, keep the temperatures down, pursue progress, ensure prosperity, and work together to keep America’s promises to all.”
The conflict began with Republicans refusing to raise the nation’s borrowing limit unless Democrats agreed to cut spending. Ultimately, the White House began weeks of intense negotiations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Republican, California) to reach a deal.
The final deal, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, would suspend the debt ceiling and limit government spending until 2025 after the next presidential election. It gives lawmakers budget targets for the next two years in hopes of ensuring financial stability as the political season heats up.
Raising the national debt ceiling, which currently stands at $31.4 trillion, would allow governments to borrow to pay off debt already incurred.
After Congress passed the bill, Biden used the opportunity on Friday to become the first president to speak in the Oval Office.
“No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed,” he said, emphasizing “compromises and agreements” in the deal. “We avoided an economic crisis and an economic collapse.”
In his reelection bid, Biden touted the achievements of his first term, including support for high-tech manufacturing, infrastructure investment and financial incentives to fight climate change. He also stressed that the agenda had been pushed back, slowing Republican efforts to achieve deep cuts.
“We’re cutting spending and we’re cutting the deficit at the same time,” Biden said. “From Social Security to Medicare to Medicaid to veterans to transformative investments in infrastructure and clean energy, we are protecting important priorities.”
Biden’s remarks were the most detailed comments by a Democratic president on the compromise negotiated by the president and his staff. He remained largely silent in public during high-stakes talks, and the decision irritated some party members, but both sides reached an agreement and gave lawmakers room to vote at his desk. It was meant to give.
Biden praised McCarthy and his negotiators for acting with integrity and all congressional leaders for ensuring the bill passed quickly. “They acted responsibly and put national interests ahead of politics,” he said.
In addition to spending limits, the 99-page bill imposes new working conditions on older Americans who receive food aid and greenlights the Appalachian natural gas pipeline, which many Democrats oppose. and change some policies. Some environmental rules have been amended to streamline the approval of infrastructure and energy projects, a move long sought by moderates in Congress.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would eliminate work requirements for veterans, the homeless, and young people who leave foster care, and could actually expand the overall reach of federal food aid. .
The bill also increases funding for the Defense Forces and veterans, cuts some of the new funding to the Internal Revenue Service, and cuts taxes on Trump-era corporations and the wealthy to help finance the nation’s budget deficit. It is a content that rejects Mr. Biden’s call to withdraw the measures. But the White House said the IRS plan to strengthen tax law enforcement for high-income earners and businesses will continue.
The agreement, which would automatically impose an overall 1% cut on spending programs if Congress did not approve an annual spending bill, called on lawmakers from both parties to reach agreement by the end of the fiscal year in September. It is a measure intended to exert pressure.
Democrats supported the bill more than Republicans in both houses of Congress, but both parties were critical of the bill’s passage. The Senate tally was 63 to 36, with 46 Democrats and independents, 17 Republicans, 31 Republicans and 4 Democrats, and 1 caucus independent with the opposing Democrats.
The vote in the House was 314 to 117.
AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/06/03/biden-signs-debt-ceiling-bill-that-pulls-us-back-from-brink-of-unprecedented-default/ Biden signs debt ceiling bill