House gives broad bipartisan approval to bill raising debt limit, sending it to Senate

Kevin McCarthy
(Image credit: Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call Inc via Getty Images)

The House voted Wednesday night to suspend the debt limit until Jan. 2, 2025, and avoid a catastrophic default as soon as Monday, The 314-117 vote sends the bill to the Senate, where leaders plan to get it to President Biden's desk by the end of the week. Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) negotiated the legislation last weekend, then spend the past few days corralling votes from centrists in each party. In the end, 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats vote in favor of the legislation, while 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats vote no.

The legislation, along with suspending the debt limit until after the 2024 election, proposes measures to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, according to Congressional Budget Office projections. Hard-right Republicans claimed they wanted more spending cuts while Democrats criticized measure to approve a West Virginia natural gas pipeline and add food aid work requirements for people 50 to 54 — though new exemptions for veterans, homeless Americans, and people leaving foster care would actually make more people eligible for food stamps than under current policies, the CBO estimated.

"Neither side got everything it wanted," Biden said. "I have been clear that the only path forward is a bipartisan compromise that can earn the support of both parties. This agreement meets that test." McCarthy called the bill a first step toward reducing the federal deficit. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) pointed out that McCarthy needed Democratic votes to both pass the bill and an earlier vote rule get it to the floor. "Once again, House Democrats to the rescue to avoid a dangerous default," he said.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

At one point Wednesday, with the bill heading toward defeat, Jeffries held up a green card and a group of Democrats quickly voted yes on the bill. That Democratic support came with a price, four Democrats told Axios, in the form of a side deal between McCarthy and Jeffries. McCarthy said earlier Wednesday he would not cut a deal to secure Democratic votes for the bill, but The Washington Post reports that Jeffries won "a private pledge for concessions from McCarthy on legislation considered this summer or fall," while Axios says the concessions involve leveling up earmarks for Democratic districts to put them on par with GOP districts.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.