US House passes bill to suspend debt limit

Bill almost certainly to be blocked by Senate Republicans who strongly oppose any debt limit increase, suspension.

US House passes bill to suspend debt limit

The US House of Representatives passed a bill that would suspend the federal debt limit through Dec. 17, 2022, but the legislation is highly expected to fail in the Senate.

In a 219-212 vote on Wednesday, all Democrats except Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon supported it, while the legislation saw opposition from every Republican except Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said before the vote that lawmakers "have a responsibility to the health and well-being of America's working families," and added that failure to pass the bill "would have a disastrous effect on them."

The bill, however, is almost certain to be blocked in the Senate by Republican lawmakers who strongly oppose any increase or suspension of the debt limit, which was reset to $28.4 trillion on Aug. 1.

If the legislation fails in the upper chamber, the Treasury Department will not be able to generate cash to pay off obligations, and the US could face a default on Oct. 18.

US Congress has increased or suspended the debt limit 78 times since 1960, according to the Treasury, with the most recent one being in 2019.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly warned Congress in recent months that the US government is on track to default on its national debt in October unless Washington increases the debt limit.

Senate Republicans already blocked a bill on Monday that would fund the government, and now Congress has to approve an appropriations bill by Thursday midnight to avoid a government shutdown.