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Biden Set to Sign Debt Ceiling Bill    06/03 08:00

   President Joe Biden is expected to sign legislation on Saturday to raise the 
debt ceiling, dodging Monday's deadline when the Treasury warned that the 
United States would start running short of cash to pay all its bills.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden is expected to sign legislation on 
Saturday to raise the debt ceiling, dodging Monday's deadline when the Treasury 
warned that the United States would start running short of cash to pay all its 

   The bipartisan measure, passed by the House on Wednesday and the Senate on 
Thursday, averts the potential of an unprecedented government default that 
would have rocked the U.S. and global economies. Raising the nation's debt 
limit, now at $31.4 trillion, will ensure that the government can borrow to pay 
debts already incurred.

   "Passing this budget agreement was critical. The stakes could not have been 
higher," Biden said from the Oval Office on Friday evening. "Nothing would have 
been more catastrophic," he said, than defaulting on the country's debt.

   The agreement was hashed out by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, 
giving Republicans some of their demanded federal spending cuts but holding the 
line on major Democratic priorities. It raises the debt limit until 2025 -- 
after the 2024 presidential election -- and gives legislators budget targets 
for the next two years in hopes of assuring fiscal stability as the political 
season heats up.

   "No one got everything they wanted but the American people got what they 
needed," Biden said, highlighting the "compromise and consensus" in the deal. 
"We averted an economic crisis and an economic collapse."

   Biden used the opportunity to itemize the achievements of his first term as 
he runs for reelection, including support for high-tech manufacturing, 
infrastructure investments and financial incentives for fighting climate 
change. He also highlighted ways he blunted Republican efforts to roll back his 
agenda and achieve deeper cuts.

   "We're cutting spending and bringing deficits down at the same time," Biden 
said. "We're protecting important priorities from Social Security to Medicare 
to Medicaid to veterans to our transformational investments in infrastructure 
and clean energy."

   Even as he pledged to continue working with Republicans, Biden also drew 
contrasts with the opposing party, particularly when it comes to raising taxes 
on the wealthy, something the Democratic president has sought.

   It's something he suggested may need to wait until a second term.

   "I'm going to be coming back," he said. "With your help, I'm going to win."

   Biden's remarks were the most detailed comments from the Democratic 
president on the compromise he and his staff negotiated. He largely remained 
quiet publicly during the high-stakes talks, a decision that frustrated some 
members of his party but was intended to give space for both sides to reach a 
deal and for lawmakers to vote it to his desk.

   Biden praised McCarthy and his negotiators for operating in good faith, and 
all congressional leaders for ensuring swift passage of the legislation. "They 
acted responsibly, and put the good of the country ahead of politics," he said.

   Overall, the 99-page bill restricts spending for the next two years and 
changes some policies, including imposing new work requirements for older 
Americans receiving food aid and greenlighting an Appalachian natural gas 
pipeline that many Democrats oppose. Some environmental rules were modified to 
help streamline approvals for infrastructure and energy projects -- a move long 
sought by moderates in Congress.

   The Congressional Budget Office estimates it could actually expand total 
eligibility for federal food assistance, with the elimination of work 
requirements for veterans, homeless people and young people leaving foster care.

   The legislation also bolsters funds for defense and veterans, cuts back some 
new money for the Internal Revenue Service and rejects Biden's call to roll 
back Trump-era tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy to help cover the 
nation's deficits. But the White House said the IRS' plans to step up 
enforcement of tax laws for high-income earners and corporations would continue.

   The agreement imposes an automatic overall 1% cut to spending programs if 
Congress fails to approve its annual spending bills -- a measure designed to 
pressure lawmakers of both parties to reach consensus before the end of the 
fiscal year in September.

   In both chambers, more Democrats backed the legislation than Republicans, 
but both parties were critical to its passage. In the Senate the tally was 
63-36 including 46 Democrats and independents and 17 Republicans in favor, 31 
Republicans along with four Democrats and one independent who caucuses with the 
Democrats opposed.

   The vote in the House was 314-117.

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