Thanks to some legislative horse trading, the debt ceiling has been raised by $2.5 trillion, removing the risk of the U.S. defaulting on its debt. While such a bill typically would require 60 votes to override the presumed Republican filibuster, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to a one-time provision exception to the filibuster rule, allowing the bill to pass with a simple 51-vote majority, though all votes came from the Democratic side of the aisle.
Media report the new $31.5 trillion debt ceiling will last into 2023.
The Build Back Better bill won’t be in a stocking hanging from the White House fireplace. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote is essential to passage, has announced there is no way he can support the bill, which contains a $550 increase in the maximum Pell Grant.
Noting there are elements of Build Back Better he supports, Manchin concluded the bill was too large in its scope and would have negative impacts on inflation and the national debt. Manchin has previously asserted that Build Back Better must not add to the deficit, but the CBO estimates that the legislation would “increase the deficit by $3 trillion over 2022 to 2031.” The legislation itself does not have so high a price tag because the program costs are not projected out as far as ten years.