U.S. Senate to vote Tuesday on raising government’s debt limit

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FILE PHOTO: The dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate will vote on Tuesday to raise the federal government’s $28.9 trillion limit debt limit, avoiding an unprecedented default as soon as later this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday.

“The Senate will act tomorrow to prevent default,” Schumer, a Democrat, said in a speech to the Senate.

Senate Republicans had resisted voting on the debt ceiling for months, seeking to link the move to President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” domestic spending bill that Republicans oppose.

Democrats note the legislation is needed to finance substantial debt incurred during former President Donald Trump’s administration, when Republicans willingly increased Washington’s credit card bill by about $7.85 trillion, partly through sweeping tax cuts and spending to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers agreed last week to legislation that prevents the use of stalling tactics in this case, allowing the Senate to move quickly to approve raising the debt ceiling by a simple majority vote of Democrats in the chamber.

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That is the legislation that Schumer is expected to bring to the floor for a vote on Tuesday. The Democratic-led House of Representatives is also expected to vote on it Tuesday, and if it passes both chambers as expected, Biden will sign it into law.

The specific dollar amount for increasing the current $28.9 trillion debt limit has not been disclosed, but it was expected to be in the range of $2 trillion to $3 trillion and is intended to keep Treasury Department borrowing operating normally at least through the November 2022 congressional elections.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney)