(Washington) The US Senate is engaged in a race against time on Thursday to in turn validate a suspension of the debt ceiling, and thus avert the threat of a default by the world’s leading economic power.
“The Senate will remain in session until we can pass a text,” promised Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
He did not rule out the possibility of a vote this weekend.
America, like almost all major economies, lives on credit. But unlike other developed countries, the United States regularly comes up against a legal constraint: the debt ceiling, its maximum amount of indebtedness, which must be formally raised or suspended by Congress.
From this routine legislative procedure, the Republicans, in the majority in the House of Representatives since January, have made an instrument of political pressure against Democratic President Joe Biden – giving rise to endless negotiating sessions, abundantly commented on by all of Washington.
The two parties finally snatched an agreement with forceps, which should make it possible to avoid the worst: that the coffers of the country find themselves dry on June 5, risking pushing the United States into default.
This unprecedented situation would plunge American finance and the economy, but also, by extension, international ones into the unknown.
It is to avoid this scenario with potentially catastrophic repercussions that Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican House of Representatives boss Kevin McCarthy reached this compromise.
The agreement was approved Wednesday evening by a large majority of elected members of the House of Representatives. And now requires the approval of the Senate.
Concretely, the text makes it possible to suspend for two years, therefore until after the presidential and legislative elections of 2024, the maximum amount of indebtedness of the United States, currently at 31,400 billion dollars.
In exchange, Democrats agreed to limit some spending, but not as much as Republicans wanted.
“The agreement passed last night by the House is an encouraging step towards fiscal consolidation, but make no mistake, there is still a lot to do,” said Republican tenor in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.
If he invited his peers to validate the agreement, several conservative senators have already announced that they would oppose the text.
A big point of contention for the left, the compromise includes modifications to the conditions imposed to benefit from certain social aid.
“I cannot, in my soul and conscience, vote for a bill that harms working people,” influential Senator Bernie Sanders said.
However, the Congressional staff is confident for the moment that the 99-page text will be adopted. It is in fact very common for last-minute compromises to be reached on this type of file.
But “the Senate does not have the luxury of waiting,” insisted Chuck Schumer.