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House Democrats unveil interim measure to avoid shutdown and suspend debt ceiling

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Washington – House Democrats on Tuesday released the text of a short-term government funding bill that includes a provision to suspend the debt ceiling and devote billions of dollars to Afghan refugee resettlement efforts and disaster relief following recent hurricanes and forest fires.

The 94-page bill, known as the Continuing Resolution, maintains current levels of federal funding until December 3 and includes a suspension of the debt ceiling until December 2022. If passed by the House and Senate, lawmakers would avoid two budget crises they face in the coming weeks: a partial government shutdown and a default on the country’s debts, which officials in the Biden administration have warned would have catastrophic economic consequences.

The legislation also provides $ 28.6 billion in disaster assistance to deal with recent hurricanes, wildfires and droughts, as well as other natural disasters, and $ 6.3 billion to support relocation efforts Afghans who fled Kabul after the rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

“It is essential that Congress passes this legislation swiftly to support essential education, health, housing and public safety programs and to provide emergency assistance to disaster survivors and Afghan evacuees,” the lawmaker said. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. in a report.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she expected the House to vote on Tuesday on the continuing resolution that keeps the government running.

The House Rules Committee met on Tuesday to set the parameters for the House floor measure debate. But panel chairman, Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, said there could be an issue with the fundraising bill, telling members while the panel was on vacation that they “were waiting for one thing be resolved “.

The House and Senate returned to Washington on Monday after a week-long hiatus and immediately faced a long list of legislative tasks and deadlines which are fast approaching.

Government funding is expected to expire on September 30, and Congress’ failure to approve a funding bill to pass by the end of the month will result in a partial government shutdown as the country continues to fight the pandemic of coronavirus.

The Treasury Department also believes that the federal government’s borrowing authority will expire in October and that congressional inaction would cause the United States to default on its debts, the Biden administration has warned.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Monday that the short-term funding measure would include a suspension of the debt ceiling and said a vote to suspend or increase the debt ceiling should be bipartite.

But it is unclear whether the legislative package can authorize the Senate in its current form. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly said Democrats will not get Republicans’ help to raise the debt ceiling.

On the House side, Louisiana Minority Whip Steve Scalise rallies Republicans to vote against the legislation with the debt ceiling suspension included, a person familiar with the plans confirmed to CBS News.

Zak Hudak contributed reporting.

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