Senate passes bill that starts process of raising debt limit

Democrats in both chambers will need to pass a second bill before Dec. 15

December 09, 2021, 8:55 PM

On Thursday evening, the Senate passed a bill that will start the process of raising the debt limit with only Democrats' votes.

Having gained the necessary support to clear the filibuster earlier Thursday afternoon, the Senate-passes legislation will permit a one-time change to Senate rules and allow Democrats to raise the federal borrowing limit by a simple majority.

Despite only requiring 51 votes, 10 Republicans voted with all Democrats to pass the rule, resulting in a 59-35 margin.

On Tuesday, congressional leaders announced a deal that would avert a default of the nation's credit by allowing Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in the Senate without any Republican support, and the House approved the measure along party lines in a late-night 222-212 vote.

The bill will now head to President Joe Biden's desk. Once Biden signs the rule change, Democrats in both chambers of Congress will need to pass a second piece of legislation that actually raises the debt limit. Biden must sign that second bill before Dec. 15 to avert catastrophic default, according to the Treasury Department.

ABC News' Mariam Khan and Trish Turner contributed to this report.

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