US averts default as Senate passes debt ceiling bill

STORY: A bill to lift the US government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is heading to President Joe Biden’s desk, after the Senate voted to pass the bipartisan deal late Thursday night.

And avert what would have been the country’s first-ever default.

"The yeas are 63, the nays are 36 - the 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the bill is passed."

Nearly all Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate approved the bill, which had been passed by the House the day before.

Lawmakers had been racing against the clock following months of partisan bickering.

The U.S. Treasury had warned it would run out of funds starting June 5 if Congress failed to act by then.

In a statement, Biden said he would sign the bill into law as soon as possible, adding:

"This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people.”

Still, it was a bitter victory, and both sides took swipes at the other following the vote.

After steering the legislation through, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed his Republican colleagues for pushing the country to the brink of a historic debt default.

“Default was the giant sword hanging over America's head. But because of the good work of President Biden, as well as Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate, we are not defaulting.”

While Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted:

"Tonight, the Senate voted to avoid default and begin to curb Washington Democrats' addiction to reckless spending.”

With this piece of legislation, the statutory limit on federal borrowing will be suspended until January 1, 2025.

Unlike most other developed countries, the United States limits the amount of debt the government can borrow, regardless of any spending allocated by the legislature.