After months of negotiations and political rhetoric and just hours before the midnight deadline, Congress passed legislation to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. The Senate voted to approve the deal, 74 to 26, guaranteeing that the United States will not default on its obligations and allowing it to begin borrowing more money. Speaking in the Rose Garden just after the vote, President Obama praised Congress for finally passing the compromise deal. But he immediately shifted his focus to fixing the economy and creating jobs. He said, "we've got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put America back to work."
A 12-member joint congressional committee will be formed over the coming weeks to find up to another $1.5 trillion in savings. A key question will be whether the committee, which must make its recommendations by Thanksgiving, will address increased tax revenue. This is something Democrats say is necessary, but Republicans oppose.