US Congress approves debt-limit suspension

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (ANNA MONEYMAKER/ GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/ Getty Images via AFP)

The US Senate has passed bipartisan legislation backed by President Joe Biden that lifts the government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, averting what would have been a historic, first-ever default.

The Senate voted 63-36 to approve the bill that was passed on Wednesday by the House of Representatives, as lawmakers raced against the clock following months of partisan bickering between Democrats and Republicans.

The Treasury Department had warned it would be unable to pay all its bills on June 5 if Congress failed to act by then.

"We are avoiding default tonight," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said as he steered the legislation through his 100-member chamber.

Before the vote, senators tore through nearly a dozen amendments - rejecting all of them - before the final vote sending the bill to Biden for signing into law before Monday's deadline.

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

Schumer and his Republican counterpart Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered on their promise to do all they could to speed along the bill negotiated by Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

"America can breathe a sigh of relief," Schumer said in remarks to the Senate.

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