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House votes to suspend debt limit, avoid government shutdown

The stopgap legislation heads to the Senate, where it faces universal GOP opposition.

Updated: September 21, 2021 - 10:27pm

The Democrat-led House voted Tuesday night to approve a bill that would prevent a government shutdown and suspend the debt limit, but the legislation faces uncertainty in the Senate where Republicans are deeply opposed.

The stopgap bill passed on a party-line vote of 220-211 and would fund the government through Dec. 3.

Majority Democrats pleaded with GOP senators to ease their opposition and avoid a debt default.

“This is not a Democratic debt. It's not a Republican debt. It is our debt. It is the debt of the United States of America. We don't welch on our debts. We pay our debts,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.

At least 10 Republicans would need to support the bill to assure passage in the Senate. Only a few, including Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, indicated they would vote yes.

Most Republicans oppose increasing the debt limit again as America’s national debt nearest $30 trillion.

Immediately after the House vote, Senate Republicans introduced an alternative spending plan that avoids suspending the debt limit while funding most of the items in the Democrat bill.

“Members on both sides of the aisle can support this measure, and I urge them to do so with haste,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., one of the sponsors, said.

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