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U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Temporarily Suspend Debt Ceiling

by Published On: Jan 24, 2013Updated On: Feb 01, 2013

On Jan. 31, the U.S. Senate voted 64-34 to approve the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 (H.R. 325), which "suspends" the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling until May 19, 2013. 

If signed into law, H.R. 325 would: 

  • Authorize payment of obligations incurred before May 19, 2013.
  • Provide that if either the U.S. Senate or House has not agreed to a concurrent budget resolution for FY 2014 by April 15, then pay for members of whichever chamber failed to pass a budget is to be held in escrow until either the recalcitrant chamber passes a budget resolution or the Congressional term ends. 

This legislation temporarily sets aside battles over lifting the debt ceiling to pay obligations that Congress has authorized, which is certainly helpful. However, it does not resolve the fundamental budgetary issues, which may include reintroduction of a House budget with the significant cuts that characterized the 2011-2012 budget proposals. 

Nor does this legislation affect the March 1 deadline for dealing with sequestration cuts, and the March 27 date when the Continuing Resolution for FY 2013 expires.

The measure moved through the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 22 with a vote of 285-144.  


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