Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Congress passes legislation to increase debt limit

On Tuesday, House members voted 219-206 on a rule (H. Res. 716) that cleared a bill that passed in the Senate last week (S. 1301) to raise the debt limit with an extension that expires on Dec. 3. President Biden signed the bill into law yesterday.

The bill raises the nation’s borrowing authority by $480 billion, avoiding a default on the country’s debt. While this is a short-term bipartisan fix, it leaves much work to be done on addressing the debt ceiling, which Republican lawmakers have said Democrats must do on their own. The debt limit and government funding will both expire on Dec. 3.

“The Democratic House has taken action to honor our responsibility to address the priority of the debt limit,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said. “We have done so because this is about protecting families. The failure to lift the debt limit could result in a loss of up to six million jobs, the elimination of $15 trillion in household wealth and drastic increases in the cost of loans, car loans, mortgages, student loans, credit card bills and other borrowing.”

The vote to increase the debt limit allows lawmakers to temporarily shift their focus back to other priority legislation, including the bipartisan Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and the $3.5 budget reconciliation package, both critical parts of the administration’s Build Back Better agenda. While negotiations are ongoing, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have said they plan to hold votes on these bills by Oct. 31.

H.R. 3684 would provide funding for investments in roads, bridges, airports, transit, rail, broadband, electric charging stations, power grid modernization and clean drinking water. The budget reconciliation package notably includes $7 billion in proposed funding to electrify the Postal Service vehicle fleet and provide the necessary infrastructure to support these vehicles.

NALC is monitoring these pieces of legislation and will update letter carriers on any future action. 

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