Senators reached a deal to expedite passage late Thursday of a debt-ceiling agreement forged by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as a June 5 deadline for a destabilizing US default approaches.
The agreement allows senators to offer 11 amendments to the bill, all of which are expected to fail but nonetheless force brief debate and a vote. It also includes a statement from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that the Senate could bypass the budget caps via emergency spending for both defense and domestic priorities, though the House would have to agree to do so.
“A strong bipartisan majority of senators stands ready to receive and process emergency funding requests from this administration,” he said on the Senate floor.
Schumer mentioned potential targets for emergency spending including Ukraine, competing with China, assorted defense priorities to deal with China, Russia, Iran and other adversaries, as well as any urgent national matter, including issues like the spread of fentanyl or natural disasters.
Schumer separately issued a statement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to work together to try and complete the regular appropriations bills and avoid a 1 percent across-the-board cut.
The agreement was struck with senators including Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican appropriator, with help from independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who helped shuttle terms of the deal between the parties to clear the bill for swift Senate passage.
But the statement, combined with the 11 amendment votes, cleared the way for swift passage after Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina threatened to use the chamber’s arcane rules to delay a vote past the June 5 deadline.
The legislation would impose restraints on government spending through the 2024 election and suspend the legal debt limit until January 2025.
Investors have largely judged the risk of a US default as resolved and are shifting attention to other uncertainties, such as Federal Reserve policy. The S&P 500 rose Thursday, while Treasury yields were down.
The House approved the agreement on a 314-117 bipartisan vote late Wednesday night. Bloomberg News