Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
October 13, 2021

The House on Tuesday approved legislation to raise the U.S. debt limit, the final legislative hurdle to averting a first-ever national default that was otherwise expected to occur next week.  The bill, passed by the Senate last week, now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature and enactment and he is expected to sign it on Wednesday.  The legislation, which cleared the House with a party-line vote of 219-206, is the result of an agreement between congressional Democrats and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky), and would extend the debt ceiling by $480 billion.   The current national debt is $28.4 trillion and would be permitted to rise to about $28.8 trillion, however the measure offers only a temporary reprieve, and it is likely to set up another round of fighting in December.  Both government funding, and the debt ceiling are both expected to expire on December 3rd after the House and Senate previously extended federal funding and provided emergency aid to support both the resettlement of Afghan refugees and disaster recovery efforts across the country.  On that legislation, the Senate’s vote was 65 to 35 and the House’s was 254 to 175.

Today, President Biden will announce that the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating around the clock as his administration struggles to relieve growing backlogs in the global supply chains that deliver critical goods to the United States.  Product shortages have frustrated American consumers and businesses and contributed to rising prices that are hurting the president politically. And the problems appear poised to worsen, enduring into late next year or beyond and disrupting shipments as well as potentially holiday purchases.  President Biden is set to give a speech today addressing the problems in ports, factories and shipping lanes that have helped produce the shortages, long delivery times and rapid price increases for food, televisions, automobiles and other consumer products. The resulting inflation has chilled consumer confidence and weighed on Mr. Biden’s approval ratings. On Wednesday, the Labor Department announced that the Consumer Price Index, a key reading of monthly inflation, jumped 5.4 percent in September when compared with the prior year, raising the stakes for the White House and the Federal Reserve.

Both the House and Senate are now in recess.  The House will return on Tuesday, October 19th at 6:30 P.M. and the Senate will return on Monday, October 18th at 3:00 P.M.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.