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Congress gives final approval to raising debt ceiling

U.S. Congress
U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government is free to borrow more money after Congress gave final approval to a bill that allows it to pay its bills until March of 2015.

After a House vote last week, the Democratically-controlled Senate voted Wednesday 55-43 to adopt a motion to concur on the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act. Only a signature from President Barack Obama is needed to make the bill law, and the White House has already indicated that Mr. Obama would sign the legislation soon.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who opposes any kind of increase in federal borrowing, made good on his attempt at a filibuster.

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

“If you ask anybody outside of Washington whether we should keep increasing the debt ceiling without fixing the underlying problem of out-of-control spending, the answer is ‘of course not.’ This answer cuts across party lines and ideology—outside the Beltway, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Libertarians all agree that living within your means is basic common sense. And yet Washington is not listening to the American people.“Under President Obama, our national debt has increased from $10 trillion to $17 trillion, and now the President is asking for yet another blank check to keep increasing our debt without doing anything to reform Washington’s spending problem. This is wrong, and it’s irresponsible. Our parents didn’t do this to us, and we shouldn’t do it to our kids and grandkids.”

Cruz’s filibuster was promptly voted down.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said in recent days that the nation risks a technical default if more borrowing is not allowed by February 27th. “We are not confident that the extraordinary measures will last beyond Thursday, February 27,” Lew said. The debt ceiling had been suspended for months, but that arrangement ended last week. Special accounting measures were employed since Friday to help the government limp along.  If the government defaulted, its credit rating would take a major hit and damage its standing in the world.

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