President Signs Debt Ceiling Increase Bill

On June 28, after much public and bipartisan hand-wringing, the President quietly signed a $450 billion increase to the debt limit, and thereby allowed the federal government to continue to sell Treasury bonds to help finance its current spending needs. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill had warned that without this increase, the U.S. would have to default on its debts for the first time in its history.

As reported in the last issue of the Watcher, the Senate had passed the $450 billion increase on June 11, but the House Republican leadership refused to take up the bill. Arguing that they didn’t have enough votes from their own members to pass a stand-alone increase to the debt ceiling, House Republicans were pushing for the increase to be added to a bill providing for emergency spending.

On June 27, however, the House passed the Senate bill in a vote of 215-214, with 6 Republicans voting against the measure.

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