Earlier today we observed that absent immediate action by the House and Senate to enact the critical $500 billion debt ceiling expansion, the US would run out of Keynesian dry powder as soon as Monday. There is no longer a need to worry. According to the Hill, an attempt to sabotage the bankruptcy of America has failed after a Senate resolution to disapprove the $500 billion debt ceiling increase proposed by Mitch McConnell was voted down 45 to 52. As a reminder, "Under the debt-ceiling agreement reached in early August, the Obama administration was authorized to immediately raise the debt ceiling by $400 billion. Another $500 billion increase was authorized this month, although that could have been blocked if both the House and Senate approved resolutions expressing disapproval." The opportunity cost of passing the bill would have been an additional 10 hours of work tomorrow for the Senatorial millionaires for whom insider trading is legal: "Earlier in the day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threatened to hold the Senate open for up to ten hours on Friday to "dispose" of the resolution if it moved forward." As a result of this vote, a parallel bill in Congress is now moot even though it has not been voted on. This effectively greenlights the increase of the US debt ceiling from the current $14.694 to $15.194 trillion, or roughly 101% of GDP.
On Thursday morning McConnell suggested senators could use the vote as a way to respond to President Obama's "jobs" speech to a joint session of Congress in which he presented a proposal that he said would stimulate the American economy.
"After the president's speech tonight calling for more stimulus spending, the Senate will vote on his request for an additional $500 billion increase in the debt ceiling," McConnell said. "So senators will have an opportunity to vote for or against this type of approach right away."
A House Republican resolution has also been introduced, H.J.Res. 77, that has the potential to pass if most Republicans decide to support it. Still, House passage would not be enough to stop the $500 billion increase in the debt ceiling since the Senate stopped it.
The House resolution, from Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), has 49 cosponsors, all Republicans.
The House and Senate resolutions are identical, and read:
"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves of the President's exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as exercised pursuant to the certification under section 3101A(a) of title 31, United States Code."
The Senate adjourned at 8.31 p.m. and is set to return on Friday at 9:45 a.m.
Congratulations America: you just bought yourself 3 more months.