Senate Votes On Debt Expansion To Avoid Default

Senate approves extending debt ceiling 2:51

(CNN) – The U.S. Senate was preparing Tuesday to raise the national debt cap as lawmakers scramble to avoid a catastrophic default before a critical midweek deadline.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the debt limit could be reached on December 15, leaving Congress with little time to resolve the issue. Once the Senate takes action, the House of Representatives will have to pass the same legislation before sending it to President Joe Biden for signing into law. The first non-payment, or default, in history would cause an economic disaster and the leaders of all the parties have made it clear that it must be avoided.


Republicans, however, insist that Democrats must take responsibility for raising the limit and doing it on their own. In response to that demand from Republicans, Congress last week passed legislation to create an expedited process that will allow Democrats to raise the debt limit on their own in the Senate without help from Republicans.

Options for Investing in US Government Debt 4:25 Steps in the Senate to Avoid Debt Default

This new temporary process will allow Senate Democrats to retake and pass a bill to increase the debt limit by a specified amount of dollars and a simple majority of votes, or 51 votes if all senators are present and vote. Senate Democrats control 50 House seats and Vice President Kamala Harris can tie the tie.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday that the vote to raise the debt limit will take place on Tuesday.

“Last week, we advanced bipartisan legislation that will allow this House to address the debt ceiling on the fast track. For everyone’s information, the Senate will act tomorrow to prevent default,” he said.

It is not yet clear to what dollar amount the Senate Democrats will raise the limit, as they have not yet announced it publicly or disclosed the legislative text. However, it is expected to be increased by a sufficient amount to ensure that the issue does not need to be raised again until after the 2022 midterm elections.