News / USA

Congress Raises US Debt Limit

FILE - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
FILE - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Michael Bowman
— The U.S. Congress has raised the nation's borrowing limit and averted a potential debt default that would have triggered devastating financial consequences. Senate approval came one day after the House of Representatives passed the measure - and less than two weeks before the federal government would have been unable to pay all its bills.
 
Another fiscal showdown has ended, with Republican lawmakers once again dropping demands for concessions in return for keeping the U.S. government funded and solvent. Republicans had contemplated pressing for changes in President Barack Obama's health care law, as well as approval of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada.
 
In the end, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a conditions-free, or "clean" debt ceiling increase with mostly Democratic votes. On Wednesday, the Democratic-led Senate approved the measure 55 to 43, with all Democrats and no Republicans voting in favor.  
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described raising the debt limit as an economic imperative.
 
"Defaulting on bills would devastate the economy and erase the past five years of recovery. Financial leaders have warned Congress again and again and again that even the threat of default ripples quickly through the economy. We cannot default on our obligations," said Reid.
 
Raising the debt ceiling gives the U.S. Treasury renewed authority to borrow money, and will allow the federal government to pay its bills until early next year.
 
But Republican senators complained that, while the immediate threat of a debt default has been lifted, America's long-term fiscal imbalances remain unaddressed. Senator Jeff Sessions said Congress is ill-serving the American people.
 
"They expect us to manage their money wisely. They expect us not to put the country at financial risk. And they have every right - and a responsibility as citizens of this country - to be angry with their Congress, to be angry with their president, for running up this kind of debt," said Sessions.
 
The national debt stands at more than $17 trillion. The federal deficit has been cut in half in recent years, and, as a result, the pace of U.S. debt accumulation has slowed. Absent fiscal reforms, the deficit is expected to grow again beginning in 2016, necessitating larger or more frequent debt ceiling increases well into the future.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid