The Senate voted Thursday night to raise the federal government’s borrowing limit by approximately $480 billion, an amount the Treasury Department has said would allow the US to avoid default until early December.
While the vote to pass the bill raising the debt ceiling bill was a foregone conclusion, the real drama came minutes earlier with the vote to end debate on the measure.
Ten Senate Republicans needed to vote with all 50 Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to invoke cloture on the bill. In the end, 11 Republicans voted to end debate: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Thune of South Dakota, John Cornyn of Texas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Mike Rounds of South Dakota.
Moments before the vote began, former President Donald Trump had exhorted Senate Republicans to “not vote for this terrible deal being pushed by folding Mitch McConnell. Stand strong for our Country. The American people are with you!”
Earlier Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had accepted McConnell’s offer of a short-term increase to the debt ceiling after Democrats had balked at the GOP’s insistence that the majority party use parliamentary procedures to pass an extension with 51 votes rather than the usual 60.
McConnell’s offer had caused discontent in the Republican conference. Moments before the vote, former President Donald Trump had implored GOP senators: “Do not vote for this terrible deal being pushed by folding Mitch McConnell. Stand strong for our Country. The American people are with you!”
The agreement sets up another legislative headache in the middle of the holiday season, as Congress will have until Dec. 3 to pass a long-term increase to the debt ceiling as well as send through legislation avoiding a government shutdown.