Debt Ceiling Bill Passes Congress
This week, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed legislation to raise the U.S. debt limit, clearing the way for signing by President Biden. This week’s legislative action concludes months long posturing and negotiations between President Biden and the House Republican leadership on how address the debt limit and thankfully avoids the anticipated economic turmoil that would have been caused by the U.S. failing to meet its financial obligations. 

The debt limit agreement will have impacts on overall federal spending, including research and public health programs of interest to ATS members. The agreement cuts federal spending by $1.5 trillion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by freezing some funding that had been projected to increase next year and then limiting spending to one percent growth in 2025, which is considered a reduction since it would be a lower level than inflation. Individual agencies’ budgets can still rise and fall under this new cap, if the total spending number stays at the 2023 level.

The legislation would also impose stricter work requirements for food stamps, claw back some funding for IRS enforcement, and rescind billions in unobligated balances of funding provided in COVID-19 relief legislation from the 116th and 117th Congress, including a rescission from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

The legislation also includes a provision that would impose a penalty if lawmakers have not completed work on the annual appropriations bills and are operating under a continuing resolution by Jan. 1, cutting funding for both defense and non-defense spending below the FY 2023 levels.
Last Reviewed: June 2023