US President Joe Biden's first speech from the Oval Office focused on the bipartisan approval of the country's debt-ceiling bill, during which he declared a "crisis averted" from his desk in the White House, reported Al Jazeera.
Biden said on Friday, "When I ran for President, I was told the days of bipartisanship were over, and that Democrats and Republicans can no longer work together," adding, "But I refused to believe that."
The address served as a victory lap for Democratic Joe Biden, who collaborated with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to forge the debt-ceiling bill last month.
The Senate's approval of the Bill on Thursday practically guarantees that the US will not default on its debt. The US Treasury had set a deadline of June 5 beyond which the federal government would most certainly have run out of money to pay its debts. The country was swiftly approaching that date.
The House of Representatives had earlier approved the measure on Wednesday by a vote of 314 to 117.
Biden explains in his address, "Passing this budget agreement was critical. The stakes could not have been higher. If we failed to reach an agreement on the budget, there were extreme voices threatening to take America - for the first time in our 247-year-history - into default on our national debt. Nothing, nothing would have been more irresponsible. Nothing would have been more catastrophic," according to Al Jazeera.
Experts projected that if the US reached its USD 31.4 trillion debt ceiling, which represents the upper limit of the federal government's borrowing authority, the economic repercussions may lead to a recession.
Businesses and people who rely on government funding may have seen their payments halted, and the US would have likely seen a decline in its credit rating and a spike in borrowing rates. According to the White House, 8 million Americans may have lost their employment as a result of a default.
The Senate's 63-36 vote on Thursday, however, was not without controversy. Far-right Republicans criticised the bill for failing to provide a substantial boost to defence budgets and for failing to impose sharp enough cuts on discretionary government spending.
Democrats lamented the increased work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme (SNAP), as well as the expenditure limitations that are expected to damage social safety net projects, reported Al Jazeera.
Addressing such criticisms on Friday, Biden said, "No one got everything they wanted. But the American people got what they needed. We averted an economic crisis and economic collapse."
McCarthy referred to the Senate's approval of the debt-ceiling legislation as a "vote for the largest savings in American history." It included clauses to recoup monies from the Internal Revenue Service, which is responsible for collecting taxes in the US, as well as leftover COVID relief funds.
The debt ceiling will be suspended by the 99-page law through 2025, allowing the government to spend as much as is required to meet its expenses up to that point.
The law will be signed by Biden on Saturday, two days before the deadline of June 5, Al Jazeera reported.
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