Biden signs debt ceiling bill, avoiding a catastrophic economic default

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U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation on averting default and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., June 2, 2023.

Pool | Via Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday evening gave his first address from the Oval Office to discuss a bill to lift the debt ceiling while capping federal spending, calling it a “critical” agreement. He signed the bill into law on Saturday.

“No one got everything they wanted but the American people got what they needed. We averted an economic crisis and an economic collapse,” Biden said.

The compromise debt ceiling bill passed the Senate by a 63-36 margin Thursday evening, winning enough support from both parties to overcome the chamber’s 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster. On Wednesday, it moved through the House after about 72 hours, passing 314-117.

The agreement comes with little time to spare: The Treasury Department estimated the federal government would run out of money on June 5 had the debt ceiling not been lifted.

“This is vital,” Biden said. “Essential to all the progress we’ve made in the last few years is keeping the full faith and credit of the United States and passing a budget that continues to grow our economy and reflects our values as a nation.”

Without the agreement, federal obligations such as Social Security, Medicare and military paychecks would have gone unsent. And failure to lift the debt ceiling would have roiled global financial markets and sparked job losses in the U.S.

The bill comes after weeks of intense negotiations between Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the White House. The final deal handed conservatives several ideological policy victories in exchange for their votes to raise the debt ceiling beyond next year’s presidential election and into 2025.

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