WASHINGTON, June 3 (AP) President Joe Biden is expected to sign legislation raising the debt ceiling on Saturday, just two days before the U.S. Treasury Department warned the country would struggle to pay its bills.
The bipartisan measure approved by the House and Senate this week removes the possibility of an unprecedented government default.
“Passing this budget deal is critical. The stakes couldn’t be higher,” Biden said in the Oval Office Friday night. “There’s nothing more catastrophic than a default on the national debt,” he said.
The deal, negotiated by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, gives Republicans some of the federal spending cuts they demanded, but stays aligned on key Democrat priorities.
It raised the debt ceiling until 2025 — after the 2024 presidential election — and gave lawmakers budget targets for the next two years in an effort to ensure fiscal stability as the political season heats up.
“Nobody got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed,” Biden said, emphasizing the “compromises and consensus” in the deal. “We avoided an economic crisis and an economic collapse.”
Biden used the opportunity to itemize the achievements of his first re-election campaign, including fiscal incentives to support high-tech manufacturing, infrastructure investment and combat climate change.
He also highlighted how he has undercut Republican efforts to overturn his agenda and achieve deeper cuts.
“We’re cutting spending while reducing the deficit,” Biden said. “We’re protecting important priorities, from Social Security to Medicare to Medicaid to veterans to our transformational investments in infrastructure and clean energy.”
Even as he pledges to continue working with Republicans, Biden stands in stark contrast to the opposition, especially in raising taxes on the wealthy, something Democratic presidents have sought.
He suggested the matter might have to wait until a second term.
“I’ll be back,” he said. “With your help, I will win.”
Biden’s remarks were the Democratic president’s most detailed comments yet on the compromise he and his staff have negotiated. He has largely remained silent in public during the high-stakes talks, a decision that has frustrated some members of his party but is aimed at leaving room for a deal and for lawmakers to vote it into his office. on the table.
Biden praised McCarthy and his negotiators for acting in good faith and all congressional leaders for ensuring the legislation passed quickly.
“They acted responsibly and put the national interest above politics,” he said.
Overall, the 99-page bill caps spending over the next two years and changes policies, including new job requirements for older Americans receiving food assistance and a campaign for Abba, which many Democrats oppose. Latchia natural gas pipeline gets green light. Some environmental rules were changed to help simplify approvals for infrastructure and energy projects — a move long sought by moderates in Congress.
The CBO estimates it could actually expand overall eligibility for federal food assistance while eliminating work requirements for veterans, the homeless and youth leaving foster care.
The legislation also boosted defense and veterans funding, cut some new IRS funding and rejected Biden’s call to roll back Trump-era tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy to help close the state deficit.
But the White House said the IRS’ plan to step up enforcement of the tax code for high earners and businesses would go ahead.
The deal would automatically cut spending by 1% across the board if Congress fails to approve its annual spending bill – a measure designed to pressure lawmakers from both parties to agree before the end of the fiscal year in September.
More Democrats than Republicans support the legislation in both chambers, but both parties are critical to its passage.
In the Senate, the vote was 63-36, with 46 Democrats and independents and 17 Republicans in favor, 31 Republicans plus four Democrats and one independent against the Democratic caucus.
The vote in the House of Representatives was 314 to 117. (Associated Press)
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