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S. 1301: [Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit]

Sep 29, 2021 at 5:52 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the House.

This was a vote to pass S. 1301 in the House.

On September 29, 2021, this bill became a House proposal to temporarily suspend the public debt limit through December 16, 2022. The Senate amended the bill on October 7, 2021 to be an increase in the public debt limit in an amount, $480 billion, that was projected by the Treasury Department to be the amount of debt needed through early December 2021 to not reach the public debt limit.

The Treasury Department had forecast that the federal government would hit the debt limit, i.e. run out of money to pay back existing debts, government salaries, and other pre-existing obligations, on October 18, 2021, creating the potential for a severe economic crisis. Failure to pay back existing debts risked a global loss of confidence in the U.S. economy and hampering the U.S.'s ability to borrow in the future, potentially leading to a recession. As of just prior to the end of the Trump Administration, the federal government ran a yearly deficit of $3.8 trillion, and spending levels have been similar in 2021 because spending in the first nine months of a president's term is largely determined by legislation the previous year.

The House and Senate votes were largely along party lines. Although Republicans likely oppose an economic catastrophe, votes on raising the public debt limit are typically used by Republicans as leverage on other issues, by grinding the congressional agenda to a halt while the potential for economic crisis looms. Republicans said they opposed raising the public debt limit so long as Democrats were preparing a very large social spending package in the "budget reconciliation" process. But these issues are economically unrelated. The increase in the public debt limit proposed in this bill was required to avoid an economic crisis due to deficit spending enacted and supported by Republicans in prior years, regardless of any future legislation.

This bill became the vehicle for passage of the public debt limit increase with the House vote on September 29, 2021. Prior to the House vote on that date, the bill was the Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act, a bill on an unrelated subject.

Totals

All Votes D R
Yea 51%
 
 
219
218
 
1
 
Nay 49%
 
 
212
2
 
210
 
Not Voting
 
 
1
0
 
1
 

Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source: house.gov.

Ideology Vote Chart

Key:
Democrat - Yea Republican - Yea Democrat - Nay Republican - Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.

Cartogram Map

Each hexagon represents one congressional district. Solid hexes are Yea votes.

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Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
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Statistically Notable Votes

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Study Guide

How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.

You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the bill this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a bill. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the bill, whether to change the bill before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

    You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at EveryCRSReport.com. If you aren’t sure what the House was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.

  3. What is the next step after this vote?
  4. Take a look at where this bill is in the legislative process. What might come next? Keep in mind what this specific vote was on, and the context of the bill. Will there be amendments? Will the other chamber of Congress vote on it, or let it die?

    For this question it may help to briefly examine the bill itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
  2. Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?

    One tool that will be helpful in answering this question is the cartogram at the top of the page. A cartogram is a stylized map of the United States that shows each district as an identical hexagon. This view allows you to see the how the representatives from each district voted arranged by their geography and colored by their political party. What trends can you see in the cartogram for this vote?

  3. How did your representative vote?
  4. There is one vote here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your representative, which is meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your representative voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?

    If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.

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