Treasury extends debt ceiling deadline to December 15

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gifted Congressional Democrats 12 additional days in December to pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling. 

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Yellen noted how she originally believed the government would be able to pay its bills through December 3, but was able to ‘further refine that projection,’ believing the new date would be December 15. 

After that, the Treasury Department would be left with ‘insufficient remaining resources,’ Yellen said.  

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gifted Congressional Democrats 12 additional days in December to pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gifted Congressional Democrats 12 additional days in December to pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gifted Congressional Democrats 12 additional days in December to pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling

‘To ensure the full faith and credit of the United States, it is critical that Congress raise or suspend the debt ceiling as soon as possible,’ Yellen insisted. 

Treasury will also be able to make a $118 billion transfer to the Highway Trust Fund on that date, which is required.  

The new date gives Democrats more time to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better using the reconciliation process in the Senate – to bypass a Republican filibuster, and also work on a bill to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. 

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hoped to pass the Build Back Better social spending bill before Christmas. 

‘That’s a huge agenda for December and the end of November, but we aim to get it all done,’ Schumer said. 

In October, the Senate voted to temporarily raise the debt limit by $480 billion. 

Congress also passed a stopgap spending bill that is set to still expire on December 3, which if missed could trigger a government shutdown. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell used the debt ceiling to try to derail the Build Back Better reconciliation bill.

McConnell wanted Senate Democrats to pass a debt ceiling hike alone – using the process of reconciliation to bypass the filibuster and get a bill through. 

Biden and other top Democrats wanted Republicans to simply not filibuster a Senate debt bill, allowing them to pass it using regular order. 

They complained that reconciliation would take too long, and jeopardize the U.S. economy.  

The House had previously passed a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling until December 2022, after next year’s midterm elections.    

Republicans, however, wanted a bill that would include a specific dollar amount – likely as a way they can nail Democrats on increasing the debt in advance of the midterm elections. 

Eleven Senate Republicans voted alongside every Democrat to break the GOP’s filibuster. 

The bill was then passed 50 to 48, with every Democrat voting in the affirmative and every Republican against it.    

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