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Senate votes to approve extending debt limit to December

By Jonna Lorenz & Daniel Uria
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Senate votes to approve extending debt limit to December
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, D-NY., speaks at a press conference by Democratic leadership at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Schumer said Senate leaders reached a deal Thursday to extend the debt limit to December. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The Senate voted Thursday night to approve a temporary extension of the debt limit, giving lawmakers until December to address the crisis.

A GOP filibuster did not materialize as lawmakers voted 61-38 to approve the measure.

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Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday morning announced the agreement which would increase the debt ceiling by $480 billion, The Hill reported. That amount would extend the debt ceiling to Dec. 3, according to Treasury Department estimates.

Officials previously estimated the government would begin to default on financial obligations on Oct. 18. Congress has raised, extended or revised the debt ceiling 78 times since 1960 and has never defaulted on its loans.

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Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that a deal had been reached. He had said Wednesday that he would support an extension, giving Democrats more time to develop a long-term solution on their own.

"The Senate is moving toward the plan I laid out last night to spare the American people from an unprecedented crisis," McConnell said Thursday.

"The pathway our Democratic colleagues have accepted will spare the American people any near-term crisis."

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Going into the vote conservatives still held the option to hold up the deal by requiring 60 votes for it to advance, which would require support from at least 10 Republicans -- with any one senator able to require that procedural hurdle. Republicans have blocked multiple attempts by Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pushed for a filibuster following a meeting with McConnell and other GOP senators on Thursday night.

"I believe it was a mistake to offer this deal. I don't think it was a good deal," he said.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., spoke out against a temporary extension on Wednesday.

"I do not support the Democrats' reconciliation package and I do not support raising the debt limit to make that level of spending possible," Graham said in a statement. "If Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling they can use the reconciliation process."

Democrats had said they would not use reconciliation to pass the measure. Reconciliation bills aren't subject to filibuster and would allow Democrats to move legislation forward without support of Republicans.

Business leaders and bank CEOs joined President Joe Biden on Wednesday in his push to raise the debt ceiling.

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A government default could result in "cascading effects" that could range "anywhere from a recession to a complete catastrophe for the global economy," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said.

Citi CEO Jane Fraser said defaulting on the government's financial obligations would cause lasting damage to the credibility of the United States with investors.

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