US Senate Close to Reaching Debt Ceiling Agreement

The United States Senate (US) is likely to reach a short-term agreement to avoid the possibility of the government defaulting on debt that is due in the next two weeks.

On Wednesday, Democrats said they might accept a proposal put forward by Republicans to defuse the row that threatens the economy.

Democrats canceled a vote Wednesday afternoon U.S. time after Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell proposed a plan for an extension of time to address the financial issue.

McConnell suggested his party would allow an extension to the federal government’s debt ceiling until December.

Without congressional action to raise the debt ceiling by $28.4 trillion, the US Treasury estimates it will not be able to meet its financial obligations by October 18.

Several Democrats said they would accept the Republican leader’s offer.

But without an official statement from the Senate Democrat leader, Chuck Schumer, it was unclear whether accepting the Republican bid was the party’s official stance. The White House as of this writing has not yet responded to McConnell’s proposal.

Republicans had previously said Democrats could take advantage of the two-week gap to pass a debt ceiling extension through a complicated process known as reconciliation, but Democrats found the process too convoluted and risky. McConnell said Republicans were willing to make concessions to speed up the process.

The Bipartisan Policy Center said Wednesday that unemployment insurance payments, the salaries of millions of federal workers, and medical insurance payments would be delayed without an increase in the debt ceiling. (jm/rs)

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