Administration

Biden intends to sign short-term bill raising debt ceiling

President Biden intends to sign a bill raising the debt ceiling for the short term after it passes Congress, the White House said Thursday.

“The President looks forward to signing legislation to raise the debt limit when it is passed by Congress,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

There had been some confusion earlier in the day when Jean-Pierre called the proposed deal to raise the debt ceiling a “positive step” but would not answer directly when asked if Biden would sign the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) finalized an agreement Thursday afternoon to hold up to four hours of debate on the bill. Those four hours will be followed by a procedural vote at 7:30 p.m., which will require 60 votes to end debate on the legislation.

The Senate will then move to voting on the bill itself if that hurdle is cleared.

Under the agreement, the debt ceiling would increase by $480 billion. Congress would need to act again in early December.

Republicans had filibustered previous attempts by Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling, arguing that Democrats needed to use the budget reconciliation process to suspend or raise the debt ceiling because of their plans to pass a multitrillion-dollar “human infrastructure” bill through reconciliation.

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reached a deal with Schumer on the legislation to raise the debt ceiling in the short-term Thursday. Ten Republican senators will need to vote to end debate on the bill, and as of Thursday afternoon it was not clear that they had the votes.

Over the past several days, Biden has ratcheted up pressure on Republicans to support Democratic attempts to suspend the debt ceiling or otherwise “get out of the way.” On Wednesday, he invited bank CEOs and other business leaders to the White House to warn of the catastrophic risks of a default.

The White House indicated on Wednesday that the short-term bill was not ideal, with press secretary Jen Psaki saying they didn’t want to “kick the can” on the debt ceiling.

Jean-Pierre said the White House viewed the deal positively on Thursday — a signal of a shift — and said the administration would follow Schumer’s lead.

It’s unclear when the bill will get to Biden’s desk. If the Senate votes as planned on Thursday evening, the measure will still need to be passed by the House, which is in recess.

Tags Chuck Schumer debt ceiling Jen Psaki Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Mitch McConnell

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