The Senate passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act on Thursday night. This will send the debt ceiling increase to Joe Biden.
17 Republicans joined 46 Democrats in suspending the debt ceiling until January 2025. This allowed the federal government avoid a debt default less than a week before the June 5 deadline. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, negotiated between Biden’s office and the Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy passed the House Wednesday with the support of both Republicans and Democrats.
Before the final passage of the bill, the senators voted against eleven amendments that addressed the issues of defense spending and permit reform. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader and Minority leader respectively, agreed on a threshold of 60 votes for eight amendments in order to prevent any of them being passed. If any of the eight amendments had passed, the whole legislation would have gone back to the House. The Treasury could also be in default if the amendments had passed.
In exchange for voting on amendments, several senators agreed to not hold up legislation. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican Senator, had previously considered opposing a quick passage. However, after CBS News contacted him, Paul said he wouldn’t do it in exchange for his alternative debt ceiling proposal. Paul’s amended failed by a vote of 21-75.
Paul said on Wednesday that “the way the Senate operates, I could” delay this bill. We could extend this to next Monday or even Tuesday if all of our parliamentary tactics are used. Negotiating for an amendment vote means that they don’t need to give me a ballot. This must be agreed to by the majority. We say that we will give back the time. We will allow the time to compressed so that it can be in all likelihood voted and passed tomorrow, if you allow us to vote for our constituents.”