The U.S. House of Representatives passed the debt ceiling compromise bill on Wednesday that suspends the $31 trillion debt limit until a lame-duck session after the 2024 presidential election.
After an hour of debate, lawmakers advanced House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) Fiscal Responsibility Act, a debt ceiling deal made with President Joe Biden that caused 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats to oppose the legislation. The final vote was 314 to 117 — 149 Republicans joining 165 Democrats.
“We’re finally bending the curve on discretionary spending because of this bill, and we’re doing it while at the same time raising our national defense and our veterans fully funded, with Social Security and Medicare preserved,” McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor, adding, “That is a major victory.”
After weeks of negotiations, Biden and McCarthy reached an “agreement in principle” over Memorial weekend.
Biden said the passage is a “critical step forward” to prevent a first-ever national economic default while touting the agreement’s Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid protections.
“Tonight, the House took a critical step forward to prevent a first-ever default and protect our country’s hard-earned and historic economic recovery,” Biden said, according to NBC News. “This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing.”
“It protects critical programs that millions of hardworking families, students, and veterans count on,” Biden said. “I have been clear that the only path forward is a bipartisan compromise that can earn the support of both parties. This agreement meets that test.”
Leading the GOP charge against the compromise, which would suspend the debt limit until January 2025 in exchange for various restraints on spending, was the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which views the agreement as being too watered down and weak on spending cuts.
“No one sent us here to borrow an additional $4 trillion to get absolutely nothing in return,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) reportedly said.
The Congressional Budget Office reportedly said the debt would reduce by $1.5 trillion over the decade under the spending restrictions.
The bill now heads to the Senate, the members of which expect to take some immediate procedural steps. Biden has urged lawmakers to pass the bill before the U.S. defaults on its debt on June 5.