September 22, 2023

Biden addresses the nation about a deal to avoid default

Washington — President Biden addresses the nation Friday night from the Oval Office after both chambers of Congress passed an agreement to suspend the debt ceiling and limit federal spending. The president has indicated that he wants to sign the measure, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, as soon as possible.

The president speaks at 7 p.m., less than 24 hours after the Senate approved the agreement, 63-36. All 11 amendments voted by the Senate before final passage have failed. A majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats in the House voted for of the bill on Wednesday evening.

It’s not clear exactly when the president will sign the legislation, but it could take a day or two for the legislation to get to the president once it passes Congress.

“No one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake: This bipartisan agreement is a great victory for our economy and the American people,” the president said in a statement late Thursday night after the Senate passed the agreement. “Our work is far from complete, but this agreement is a critical step forward and a reminder of what is possible when we act in the best interest of our country. I look forward to signing this bill into law as soon as possible and the American people right tomorrow.”

Congressional passage of the legislation before the weekend ensures that the federal government will have the authority to borrow more and pay its bills before the critical June 5 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Markets reacted positively to the debt ceiling deal and strong jobs data on Friday, with investors assuring that the country will not default for the first time in its history.

What is in the debt ceiling agreement – and what is not

The agreement suspends the debt limit until the first quarter of 2025, meaning that the next debt limit fight will not take place until after the 2024 presidential election. The agreement keeps discretionary spending for non-defense activities roughly the same, with current 2023 levels for 2024. There are spending targets rather than budget caps after 2025. The agreement codifies an end to student loan payment suspension, meaning that holders of loans should start making paid again in September. It is also withdrawing unused COVID-19 relief funds and amending work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The agreement did not include enough cuts to satisfy many conservative Republicans, while some progressives opposed it, saying the cuts went too far. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said many in Congress wanted to “make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

“This is a good package,” he told reporters on Wednesday night. “And this is a down payment for what conservative governance can look like in Washington, DC. But in a divided Washington, it’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction for the conservative philosophy I espouse and the results I seek and seek House Republicans.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, after the deal was passed by the Senate Thursday night, rejected the idea that Democrats had underestimated the new House speaker.

“No, look at the mood,” Schumer said. “Underestimating Kevin McCarthy? Look at the vote in the House and Senate. That says it all. We didn’t underestimate him.”

Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

How to watch Biden address the nation What: President Biden speaks ahead of debt ceiling agreement signing Date: June 6, 2023 Time: 7 p.m. ET Location: Oval Office, White House Online stream: Live on CBS News streaming in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device.

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