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As debt nears $29 trillion, Congress passes bill to raise debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion

The debt limit can now pass with a simple majority after Schumer and McConnell reached an agreement to fast-track the process

Published: December 14, 2021 1:56pm

Updated: December 15, 2021 12:34am

As the national debt nears $29 trillion, the Democratic-led Congress passed a bill on Tuesday to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion.

The additional borrowing authority would raise the national debt to roughly $31.4 trillion.

The debt limit was able to pass with a simple majority in the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell reached an agreement last week to fast-track the process.

Prior to passage of that bill, an increase to the debt limit was subject to the 60-vote threshold or legislative filibuster. President Biden has signed that bill into law.

The legislation to increase the debt limit passed in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 50-49 with the support of every Democrat in the chamber. The Treasury Department had set a December 15 deadline for raising the debt ceiling. It later passed in the Democratic-led House early Wednesday 221-209.

Senate Democrats are also currently considering Biden's multi-trillion Build Back Better Act, which contains new social programs like universal pre-K and $550 billion on climate change initiatives. The bill recently passed its version of the legislation. 

Schumer has set a Christmas deadline for passage of that bill. Democrats are able to move through the chamber on a party line vote with the use of budget reconciliation. 

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