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Senate approves bill to raise debt ceiling, avoiding default.

Senate Passes Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023

The Senate has passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, putting an end to the threat of a U.S. default on its financial obligations. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 63 to 36 and now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature.

A Compromise Bill

The legislation resulted from a compromise forged by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The bill suspends the debt limit through Jan. 1, 2025, while making slight reductions to non-defense discretionary spending and modest increases in defense spending in 2024. Discretionary spending growth is capped at 1 percent for 2025.

The bill also makes changes to work requirements for some social welfare programs, streamlines the permitting process to drill for oil and natural gas, and takes back $20 billion in IRS funding and $30 billion in unspent COVID relief funds, among other provisions.

Defense Spending Concerns

Republican senators voiced concerns about the bill’s inadequate amount of military spending. Senators including Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) criticized the bill for including a provision to cut defense spending automatically if a federal budget is not passed on time.

“This bill would actually shrink the size of our navy,” Collins said. “Meanwhile, China has the largest navy in the world now.” Collins called for an emergency supplemental allocation to further increase defense spending in 2024.

Positive Reactions

“It is so good for this country that both parties have come together at last to avoid default. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their cooperation,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said shortly before the vote.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it “an urgent and important step in the right direction for the health of our economy and the future of our country” during remarks on the Senate floor.

Opposition to the Bill

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) opposed the bill, saying it would actually increase, not decrease, federal spending. “I get to the fine print and find out, actually, it increases spending 3.3 percent next year. And the year after that it increases spending 1 percent again. It actually doesn’t decrease spending at all,” Lankford said while debating the bill on June 1.

Read More From Original Article Here: Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Bill, Ending Threat of Default

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