Debt Ceiling Bill Passes House

On to the Senate.

“Cap Dome 2022″by SLT

Via CNN: House passes debt limit deal as lawmakers race to avert default.

The final tally for the vote was 314 to 117. There were 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats who voted for the bill and 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats who voted against it.

It is worth noting that the bill would not have passed if it had needed just the majority party, which is an interesting signal about the relative responsibility of the two parties, given that default would have caused a global economic crisis.

Indeed, not just on the final vote:

Earlier Wednesday, the chamber cleared a key hurdle to advance to a final vote when it approved a rule governing floor debate for the debt limit bill. Rules are typically supported by just the majority party and opposed by the minority. But in this case, 52 Democrats voted “yes” to get the rule across the finish line after 29 Republicans voted against it.

Democratic leaders instructed their members to let Republicans put up their votes for the rule first, a source familiar told CNN. The strategy: let Republicans sweat and show how many defections GOP leaders had. The defections exposed deep divisions within the House Republican conference.

Passage of the rule cleared the way for the final House vote on the bill later in the day.

On the theme of comparing the two parties, this is quite interesting:

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. EddieInCA says:

    That damn Biden is so old, so unable to even put his pants on every morning, incapable of putting together a cogent sentence.. Oh… Wait.

    Thanks, Brandon!

  2. Beth says:

    1. I’m genuinely shocked.

    2. Can someone explain to me if this also solves the appropriations bills or are we just going to wander into a Republican forced government shutdown?

    3. What other stupid shit are Republicans going to do next?

  3. Stormy Dragon says:


    If the appropriations bills don’t all pass, there will be an automatic 1% across the board cut, so I suspect the appropriation bills will not be passed.

  4. Ken_L says:

    It’s interesting that the media has framed the vote as a test of whether McCarthy can attract enough Democratic votes to compensate for the “rebels” in his caucus. If it’s supposed to be a bipartisan agreement, surely the 46 Democrats who voted against it are also “rebels”? But for once, the media sees the disarray mainly on the right.

    One longer-term consequence of the deal might be increased antagonism between progressives and the White House, which was doubtless one of the side benefits McCarthy anticipated. I’ll listen to Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s comments in the Senate with great interest.

  5. Ken_L says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The cuts would also apply to the defence appropriations. There’ll be a lot of pressure on Republicans not to let that happen. People like Lindsey Graham are already hyperventilating that this deal doesn’t increase defence spending enough.

  6. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Earlier tonight, Yahoo had a headline that Manchin will vote against the bill to kill student loan forbearance. The same “it’s sooooo unfair to the people who paid their (fraction of the current size) loans” nonsense as always.

    Apologies to Angela and Huey, yet again. 🙁

  7. Bob@Youngstown says:


    One longer-term consequence of the deal might be increased antagonism between progressives and the White House

    I anticipating (hopefully) that the progressive “No” votes were simply posturing for the folks back in the district.

  8. EddieInCA says:

    I’m probably an asshole for saying this, but reading, seeing and hearing the reactions of Loren Bobert, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy, Nancy Mace, James Comer, Ken Buck and their ilk makes me think that this is probably a good deal for Dems, given the stark and extreme partisans times in which we live. It’s probably the best that could have passed.

  9. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I’m thinking that if the GOP-MAGA-Nutbar caucus threats to remove McCarthy as speaker actually happen, the Dems can drive them even more insane by constantly voting for McCarthy to make sure he keeps the job. Dems can do a whole lot worse than have a GOP “leader” who can barely stay in the saddle on the back of a rabid wild horse.

    And the concessions they could get would be delicious. “Shine my shoes, Kevin.” “Wash my car, Kevin.” “Crawl across the floor on your hands and knees to my desk, Kevin.” “Say: ‘Thank you for keeping me in the job I’ve wanted since almost forever’, Kevin.”

    LBJ would be green with envy.

  10. Mikey says:


    I anticipating (hopefully) that the progressive “No” votes were simply posturing for the folks back in the district.

    Here’s my congressman’s statement on his “No” vote. For the record, I agree with him:

    Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement:

    “Today, regrettably, I voted against the debt limit agreement.

    “President Biden secured the best possible deal under extremely adverse circumstances. It raises the debt ceiling for two years without many of the draconian cuts Republicans demanded. However, I refuse to enable hostage-taking and in the process establish a dangerous precedent. I cannot sign my name to a deal done under duress, and I will not engage in anything that further enables such reckless behavior from my Republican colleagues.

    “Last week, I called on President Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment and unilaterally take default off the table. It’s an opinion shared by respected legal and constitutional scholars, and it’s the path President Biden should have taken.

    “On the substance of the deal, as a matter of conviction, I am vehemently opposed to three major provisions: The inclusion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, additional work requirements for SNAP and TANF, and the rescission of billions of dollars in funding already appropriated for the IRS.

    “This agreement virtually assures approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline without meaningful public input and without being subject to judicial review. This is a frightening and unacceptable precedent to set, particularly on a project that will directly affect so many Virginia communities. Those Virginians, and the lawmakers who represent them, deserve more of a say in this decision than this deal affords them. To unilaterally approve an oil project by fiat with no due process denies the people we serve any voice in their own communities’ future.

    “While President Biden fought valiantly to exclude the cruelest changes to SNAP and TANF sought by Republicans, this deal will still result in lost nutritional assistance for at least 500,000 Americans who currently receive it. These are real human beings who rely on these programs to feed themselves and their families. They are not pawns in Republicans’ cruel political game, and they deserve better than this. I did not run for public office to add to the ranks of the hungry and malnourished.

    “In the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats appropriated $80 billion to restore the IRS, improve its customer service, and go after wealthy tax cheats. This deal strips away tens of billions of those dollars, leaving the IRS in a weaker position than it should be to achieve those goals. Ironically, by cutting this funding, Republicans are going after the one agency that has the ability to shrink the deficit and reduce our debt – the very aspirations they claim to hold sacred – by ensuring the federal government is actually collecting the revenue it is owed.

    “I want to be clear: I will never vote to default on our debt. If, in some alternate universe, my vote was the difference between passing this deal and catastrophic default, I would have begrudgingly held my nose and voted for it. The full faith and credit of the United States is too important to do otherwise. However, when it became apparent this deal would pass with or without me, the choice was clear. I could not in good faith support it.”

  11. just nutha says:

    @Mikey: While I also agree on principal with his position, this situation is one where the reason he objects will not change the politics of the ongoing hostage taking.
    RWNJs will take whatever support they can get and will gladly misrepresent his support. His principals are useless here and he needs to support his caucus.
    Then again, his opposition is meaningless, so if posturing scores points at home…

  12. Lounsbury says:


    Last week, I called on President Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment and unilaterally take default off the table. It’s an opinion shared by respected legal and constitutional scholars, and it’s the path President Biden should have taken.

    It is a naive position.
    While this may (or may not) have legal merit, the statement naively expects that taking such a position resolves itself, and all is done, ending the ‘hostage’ situation and the risk you all were (rightly) worried about, re default and wrecking the economy.

    This is naive and foolish, an excercise in intellectualisation over reality. Leaving aside the merit of the legal position, it is certain to face legal challenge, and is far from a slam-dunk, most particularly given the composition and the behaviour of your Supreme Court.

    With a legal challenge you have in fact resolved nothing as
    (1) treasury and bond buyers will quite rightly have fears that any debt issued under such a scheme could be legally invalid, and
    (2) therefore any of the new issuance or paper rolled over in excess of the limit would be in significant legal doubt and thus value relative to a buyer, and
    (3) as an unprecedented situation, would immediately throw the wider US Treasuries market into a frenzy of defacto default risk hedging (a panic).
    (4) such panic would have the effect equivalent to a technical sovereign default, rather undoing that which the US Treasury Secretary was trying to do – that is prevent an interest rate shock to the economy (given the amount of commercial lending benchmarking off of US Treasuries, directly and indirectly from direct benchmarks) that would in fact be exactly what you are trying to avoid in terms of damage to the economy – both avoid for the political effects relative to next elections and of course

    I do not speak from theory here, in my own world we have been racing to lock in references to US treasuries that are “not in doubt and won’t be in doubt” in the next 12 months – legal and related work that comes at a cost, but which was undertaken from real concern.

    Having issuances with validity in doubt, in real legal terms, does not achieve Biden’s goals – and people making these pure Politics-Fantasy-Law arguments lack an understanding of the real process, implciations – you need best pricing for the paper you sell and the paper you sell is to parties that give zero fucks about what Left Democrats and Progressives think about the validity of the 14th amendment or scholars issuing theoretical opinions without skin-in-the-game, they care about their risk as they percieve and as well as how risk committees that also give no fucks at all about the political arguments.

    So long as you have this limit in place, you will have this repeated. The solution is to remove it – in whatever legal fashion (perhap a constitutional argument but not under crisis of limit with urgent issuances being put i doubt)

    Fantasy games like 14th amendment are for academics and innumerate political operatives to play with, without understandin of bond markets and the need to place paper.

  13. BugManDan says:


    So long as you have this limit in place, you will have this repeated. The solution is to remove it – in whatever legal fashion (perhap a constitutional argument but not under crisis of limit with urgent issuances being put i doubt)

    Agreed. So assuming that there is a real chance that the 14th amendment will remove the debt ceiling, the minute this bill passes the Senate, Biden should do whatever needs to be done to invoke the 14th amendment for the next one, and get someone to sue over it immediately. Otherwise, you wait until the last minute again and then can’t risk it.

  14. Bob@Youngstown says:

    You call out some reasonable, valid notions – particularly fear by potential bonds buyers.

    Which causes me to ask : Who would have standing challenge the constitutionality of the debt limit of the Liberty Bond Act (1917)?

  15. Jay L Gischer says:

    I feel that this ranks as a definite plus for Kevin McCarthy. He was able to manage a very difficult situation, with members of his own caucus trying to interfere with, not to say sabotage, his efforts.

    Of course, it’s also a plus for Biden, and Hakeem Jeffries. I don’t think the Senate leaders had a big role in this, in contrast.

  16. Mikey says:


    Leaving aside the merit of the legal position, it is certain to face legal challenge, and is far from a slam-dunk, most particularly given the composition and the behaviour of your Supreme Court.

    I think a legal challenge was inevitable, which is why Biden didn’t go that route (and probably never would have).

    I’ll defer to you on an assessment of the likely effects if he had, which we fortunately will never have to test.

    So long as you have this limit in place, you will have this repeated. The solution is to remove it – in whatever legal fashion (perhap a constitutional argument but not under crisis of limit with urgent issuances being put i doubt)

    IIRC it would actually be a relatively simple legislative move to get rid of the idiotic thing, which the Dems could have done during the lame duck period after the 2022 election but for whatever reasons chose not to. A blunder on their part, if true.

  17. Lounsbury says:

    @Mikey: There is empirical comparative evidence of price movement on mere technical hiccups that happened historically with Treasury where minor doubts arose on specific validity, there is no doubt that the potential for catastrophic pricing swings and significant price penalty (as in USA citizens paying higher rates) was and is enormous.

    Insofar as USA needs to sell and turn-over massive amounts of paper, these would not be trivial and and bond market panic is hardly something you need – look at the commercial side effects from the banking mini-panic you just had. Magnifiy that by 10 at minimum. (the UK Madame Truss moment gives an insight, although inexact one on what bond market panic or “deep concern” can trigger).

    Biden was perfectly wise to not try a high-risk legal play of dubious actionability and set off weeks, months of financial markets panic, instability. This also rather clearly explains Madame Yellen’s behaviour. She knew what she faced.

    Any of the constitutional actions that the Left has been affirming as obvious no-brainers would have been suicide from the legal risk alone relative to massive bond market destabilisation and likely panic relative to doubts on validity (or legal challenges to validity which amount to the same).

    At least the consul bond (perpetual) would have had a more narrow implication (the specific bond holders only) although still risky.

    It is quite evident that removal of this utterly idiotic limit by law needs to be a priority, there is no defence for the Republican’s usage but so long as the Demorats keep leaving the weapon there to be used… it will be used.

  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    My best guess at what’s behind this is that if negotiations went past the deadline, the Biden Administration would keep borrowing, and keep spending money.

    They would say that they think this is the best choice among a bunch of bad ones. They can’t legally not pay people, and they can’t legally take more debt. There is no legal path forward for them. So they’re going to keep taking debt, because that’s less bad.

    If Republicans want to sue them over this, they can go ahead, but wow, that’s a bad look.

  19. Lounsbury says:

    @Jay L Gischer: A bad look to people already against them, this audience.

    Not a bad look of necessity to a wider audience or their own voting base.

    Further, the political assertion “keep borrowing” is grossly naïve as to the bond market – debt issued under doubtful legality – as in having the slightest doubt as to validity – and with potential to be repudiated or delayed – is not something you can just breezily sell. Borrowing money means getting it from people who have it, such parties who have money are not your political tribe by-and-large.

    In best case such issuances, seen as high risk, will come at a significant price – although at least consuls would have some clearer legal standing than blithely pretending to issue normal paper.

    Rather more likely in market estimates is priorisation of payments, to bond holders, while defaulting/delaying on other current payments – such as social payments, government salaries, military payments.

    Such an operation preserves cash and prevents a bond default, and has the actual effect of then bringing home emphatic pain to a broad population swath, which as Madame Truss found out in UK, rather concentrates the minds – and unlike “bad look” which looks principally bad to the Left who are already pre-sold to be against, rather it brings Republican blocking of payments (via blocking of issuances) directly home right quick.

  20. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Lounsbury: I think you’re reading too much into what I wrote. I never wrote “keep borrowing”. This is about “keep paying, even if we have to borrow”.

    You’ve been clear, and I believe you, about the very real consequences of there actually being a problem with debt interest payments. That would be very, very bad for the country. A negotiated settlement is better. And you have to make up the fiscal gaps with either taxes or budget cuts.

    I do not think that some sovereign debt is bad, though. Like Alexander Hamilton, I rather think it’s good for the country, at some level. And the exact level at which it turns bad is not really something you can solve an equation to find. We’re talking more about preferences. You are quite entitled to prefer things a different way than I do.

    I think you know all these things, actually.

    And really, I find it difficult to believe that, if you were faced with a choice between A) stop making payments, including interest payments or B) violating the debt ceiling, you wouldn’t take choice B.

  21. Lounsbury says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Of course sovereign debt is a fine thing, just like corporate debt, it is a rational part of your financing strategy. A company carrying no debt either has no investment opportunities or is innumerately foolish, but leverage needs to be maximised to the point of prudence. Same with a country, a country should rationally rely on as much debt as is prudent particularly to fund heavy longer term expenditure in infrastructure (hard and productive soft as like R&D) for the creation of future value potential: prudent being a caclulation allowing for “rainy days” of income stress and emergency borrowing for such, and an understanding of one’s own revenue stability and collections (poor revenue quality/stability means less borrowing headroom).

    Thus there is no reason to presume I am against government debt from some bizarre ideological position, quite the contrary, it is merely financial prudence that is of concern – and here I made no comment nor hint of “government debt bad” – purely my comment is about having to have solid and stable legal basis to successfully sell debt – something many Lefty commentators have little or no real grasp of as their understanding and thinking stopped at the politics of 14th, I am not including you from your clear comments, merely clarifying.

    I do not see from the numbers I knew that Yellen faced the choice of making interest payments or not, the income from current tax revenues covers – if your interest payments were in excess of current tax revenues you should be very very worried as then you are on the path to solvency default.

    Rather the choice was prioritising payments or issuing doubtful debt. Clearly they would have done prioritisation as also the better political move.

    As a final desperation point the consuls solution of perpetuals would be less risky and potentially harmful than the 14th solution as being an instrument although disused of legal validity and the risk relative to validity of issuance at least concentrated only to them rather than broadly on new paper.