Senate approves 3-month debt limit reprieve
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted 64-34 Thursday to send legislation suspending the U.S. debt limit for three months to President Barack Obama, temporarily removing the risk of a government default from fiscal negotiations.
The measure, crafted by House Republicans, will lift the government's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit until May 19.
"Raising the possibility that the United States could default on its obligations every few months is not an ideal way to run a government," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said before the vote. "But a short-term solution is better than another imminent, manufactured crisis."
The debt-limit measure includes a prod to lawmakers, saying the House and the Senate each must adopt a budget for the next fiscal year by April 15. If not, pay for members of the chamber that doesn't act will be withheld until they adopt one -- or until the end of the 113th Congress at the latest.
House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said in a statement following the vote that Senate Democrats should "present a plan that balances the budget and responsibly addresses the government's spending problem."