US Senate passes two-year budget Bill, sends to Trump for signature

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks off the Senate floor after the Bill's passage.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks off the Senate floor after the Bill's passage.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (DPA) - The US Senate on Thursday (Aug 1) passed a two-year budget and debt ceiling deal, sending the measure on to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The deal, which lifts spending caps and suspends the debt ceiling through mid-2021, passed 67-28.

The measure is meant to stave off a potential US default on its debts until at least July 2021 and prevent another costly US government shutdown.

Trump has endorsed the deal, but some conservatives balked at increased spending in areas other than defence and a lack of offsets through cuts or other ways to raise revenue.

Lawmakers announced last week that they had reached the agreement, with some expressing concern about the swelling US debt.

The debt ceiling is the legislated limit for debt the US government is allowed to carry, which currently stands at over US$22 trillion (S$30 trillion).

Senator John Cornyn acknowledged the debt in a speech on the floor of the Senate after the vote. The Texas Republican emphasized that the Bill represented a rare compromise.

"The funding agreement will provide stability for our nation though 2020 and deliver on the administration's key priorities," Cornyn said.

He said the bipartisanship between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "compromise between two sides that typically don't agree on much."

Without a lifting of the debt ceiling, the Treasury Department would be unable to borrow money to pay the US government's bills.

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department said the federal government could run out of cash by September if lawmakers failed to reach an agreement before their summer recess.