Senate passes US debt ceiling deal, averting a US default

The US Congress has approved a deal to lift the country’s borrowing limit, days before the world’s largest economy is due to default on its debt.

The bipartisan measure sped through the Senate by a vote of 63-36, a day after it cleared the US House of Representatives.

President Joe Biden has said he will enact the measure into law.

His signature on the bill will spare the US from a catastrophic default on its $31.4tn (£25tn) debt.

The country is forecast to overshoot its current debt ceiling on Monday 5 June.

In Thursday night’s session, the bill passed with support from 44 Democrats and 17 Republicans, plus two independents.

Sixty votes were required to approve the measure in a 100-seat chamber that Democrats only narrowly control.

Thirty-one Republicans were opposed, including a member of the party’s leadership in the chamber, John Barrasso.

Democratic senators John Fetterman and Elizabeth Warren, plus Bernie Sanders who is independent, also voted against.

Senators first proposed 11 amendments to the debt ceiling bill, but they were all rejected in quick order, paving the way for a final vote.

If a single one of the amendments had passed, the whole bill would have had to be sent back to the House, leaving little time to ensure final passage of the measure before the US fell off a fiscal cliff.

“America can breathe a sigh of relief, a sigh of relief because in this process we are avoiding default,” Democratic Majority leader Chuck Schumer told the Senate.

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would be “proud to support it without delay”.

The deal had easily cleared the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening by a vote of 314-117. Some 165 Democrats joined 149 Republicans in approving it by the required simple majority.(BBC)