2/1/12: On January 26, the Senate voted against bringing up HJRes 98, legislation that would have blocked the President from increasing the debt ceiling, by a vote of 44 to 52. The House had previously voted in favor of the measure. The Senate’s action allowed the President to increase the debt ceiling by an amount that is expected to be sufficient to cover the rest of the year. It also allowed the Treasury Department to fully repay amounts owed, but not deposited, into federal pension accounts in the last few weeks that were temporarily used to avoid breaching the debt ceiling. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board reported today that the action has been completed. The Treasury Secretary must report to the Congress on the status of the Thrift Savings Fund within 30 days of the increase in the debt limit.
The process of allowing the President to increase the debt ceiling, unless legislation was enacted to block it, was included in the Budget Control Act that resolved the debt ceiling impasse last August and prevented a similar threat of default and government shutdown as the debt ceiling was reached again this month.