Senate passes debt ceiling deal, averts default

Senate passes debt ceiling deal, averts default

UPDATE: Friday, Jun 2, 2023 · 2:53:58 AM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

The debt ceiling deal just passed the Senate, 63-36, after a long day of wrangling over amendments as well as agreements from leadership about commitments to pass all of the appropriations bills and a mess of other stuff. But 11 amendments were quickly (by Senate standards) dispatched, none of them passing, which was a foregone conclusion—they couldn’t change the bill because there would not be enough time for it to go back to the House. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has set Monday, June 5, as the absolute last day the government can keep paying its bills without action from Congress to lift the debt ceiling. With the House set to act by the end of the day Wednesday, the Senate could be pushed to its procedural limits to get the job done in time. Senate Republican nihilists so far seem pretty determined to push that limit, even though their efforts to derail will be futile.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has done his bit. He has wholeheartedly endorsed the deal President Joe Biden struck with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. That doesn’t mean he’s going to crack the whip on his nihilists, though—even if he could. Though their counterpart Freedom Caucus in the House has caved to reality, there’s mischief to be made in the Senate, where they have the power to drag things out until the last, painful minute.

A few Republicans have already made it clear that they are not going to bow to the inevitable and let the bill pass with unanimous consent. Instead, they’re going to demand that the Senate waste hours and hours of “debate” time while the chamber sits empty, just to make the point that they do not approve.

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