By a surprisingly wide 269-161 margin, the House yesterday passed the debt ceiling plan agreed to by President Obama and Congressional leaders over the weekend. Following suit, the Senate this afternoon voted and passed it as well, 74-26. Congress has now ensured that the U.S. will not default on its loan obligations at least through 2012.
The debate over how to offset the debt ceiling increase will continue though. The special legislative committee established under the agreement will soon have to get to work determining what role tax reforms and entitlement reforms will have in offsetting the cost of the second installment of the debt ceiling increase, setting up key votes in the House and Senate likely in December. In the interim, the budget fight’s next featured phase will likely be the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations process, where the parties have broad disagreements about funding levels for particular programs.