The US Senate has passed a bill that would suspend the federal government’s borrowing limit for another year.
Twelve Republicans joined all 55 Democrats in the Senate on Wednesday to vote for the suspension of the debt ceiling, making sure the Treasury would not default on its more than $17 trillion debt until March 2015. The measure passed the Senate by a 67 to 31 vote.
The legislation, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday, would now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Republican senators’ vote for the bill followed a decision by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) who joined the Democrats to help reach the filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold.
The vote in both chambers of US Congress came after US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Congressional leaders that the federal government would run out of money to pay its bills by February 27 if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling.
Lew said on Friday that the bills that the Treasury would fail to pay included everything from issuing Social Security checks to making payroll for federal workers and military personnel.
The US government hit its debt limit on Friday after a temporary suspension of the debt ceiling, passed by Congress in October, ended.
Over the past three years, House Republicans used the debt ceiling issue as a leverage to gain major concessions from Democrats and the Obama administration. However, the GOP undercut its position after a political stalemate over raising the debt ceiling led to a government shutdown in October.
Earlier this week, the White House said that the US debt ceiling is not a negotiable item.
“Our members understand that we can’t default on the debt, they also understand that the president is just not interested in doing anything about the spending problem here,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) said after Tuesday’s vote in the House.