IssuesCongress Raises National Debt Ceiling $2.5 Trillion Aided by 14 Senate Republicans

After the debt increased by over $6 trillion in the last two years amid a suspension of its limit, Congress approved hiking the ceiling by another $2.5 trillion.
December 15, 2021
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Congress approved a measure to raise the national debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion this week as Senate Democrats voted in favor of the legislation on Tuesday with their House colleagues quickly following suit.

Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) both voted against the final formality to allow the United States Department of the Treasury to issue more debt.

But last week, Cornyn joined 13 other Republicans to vote in favor of a cloture motion for the measure that allowed Democrats to raise the debt ceiling this week with a simple majority. Cornyn did not vote on that measure itself, which only needed a simple majority to pass. Democrats have 50 Senate seats plus the tie-breaker in Vice President Kamala Harris.

Cruz voted against both the bill to raise the debt ceiling and the procedural mechanisms to make it happen.

“Our national debt is $28.9 trillion, and today Senate Democrats voted to increase the debt limit by $2.5 trillion, the single largest increase ever enacted by Congress,” said Cruz in a press release

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“At the same time, President Biden and the Democrats are hell bent on ramming through their radical Build Back Broke agenda to spend trillions of dollars more on socialist priorities, which will drive inflation even higher and make it more expensive for hard working families to put food on their table, gas up their cars, and heat their homes. Americans could not have asked for a worse gift for Christmas.”

In the House, all Democrats voted for the debt ceiling hike and all Republicans were against it except for Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

The $2.5 trillion increase to the borrowing limit follows a more short-term hike of $480 billion that was approved in October — also with the help of Cornyn.

The new increase comes on the heels of December 15, the date that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the $480 billion would be able to fund the government through.

“[T]here are scenarios in which the Treasury would be left with insufficient remaining resources to continue to finance the operations of the U.S. government beyond this date,” Yellen said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In July 2019, the Trump administration reached a budget agreement with lawmakers in Congress that had the effect of suspending the debt ceiling for the following two years.

Congressional Republicans from Texas who voted for that agreement included Cornyn, Reps. Brian Babin, Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), John Carter, Kay Granger (R-TX-12), and Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) and former Reps. Mike Conaway, Will Hurd, and Mac Thornberry. All other Texas Republicans voted against the budget and debt ceiling suspension.

At that time in the House, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) offered an amendment to the legislation that would have given it the title “A bill to kick the can down the road, and for other purposes,” but the amendment failed in a 384-47 vote.

Throughout 2020, during the time at which the debt ceiling had been suspended, Congress passed several massive COVID-19 relief packages to the tune of trillions of dollars. Since the debt ceiling was suspended in 2019, the national debt has increased by over $6.6 trillion.

The national debt currently stands at $29 trillion.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.