- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 7, 2021

President Biden will sign the bipartisan short-term debt-ceiling bill upon which Senate leaders agreed, the White House said Thursday.

“The President looks forward to signing legislation to raise the debt limit when it is passed by Congress,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday evening on the bill, which will require 60 votes to pass.

Mr. Biden was pressed on whether he’d sign the bill earlier Thursday, but declined to comment, saying a deal had not yet been reached.

Initially, the White House was cool to the agreement, but appeared to have a change of heart Thursday.

Ms. Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday that the bill was a “a positive step forward” and “give us some breathing room.”

That diverged from White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s response Wednesday, when asked about the deal proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. The deal raises the debt limit for two months to avoid an economic crisis.

“We don’t need to kick the can,” she said. “We don’t need to go through a cumbersome process that every day brings additional risks.”

When pressed about whether a temporary debt ceiling hike amounted to kicking the can down the road, Ms. Jean-Pierre pivoted to blaming Mr. McConnell for a close shave with the U.S. potentially defaulting on its bills.

“We are going to keep doing what we’re doing, which is making it really clear what’s at stake and telling Mitch McConnell and Republicans to get out of the way,” she said. “Stop using this as a political football. Stop putting our economic health in a potential crisis.”

Earlier Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said he had reached an agreement with Mr. McConnell to avoid a potential U.S. default.

Under the agreement, lawmakers would increase the debt ceiling by $480 billion, which would extend it through Dec. 3. A vote on the plan could come as early as Thursday afternoon.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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