The Senate voted 59-35 for the measure, with 10 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, backing the bill, which allows an upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling to pass the chamber with a simple majority. McConnell said earlier this week that he believed the procedure was in the best interests of the country because it avoids default.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the legislation on Wednesday night by 222-212, with only one Republican backing it.
Biden is expected to promptly sign the unusual procedural measure that paves the way for the second bill, which would actually increase government borrowing authority, to pass in the coming days.
"I want to be clear, this is about paying debt accumulated by both parties. So I'm pleased we were able to facilitate a process with the supportive members from both parties that avoids needless and catastrophic default," the chamber's top Democrat, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said in a speech after the vote on the measure, which he had negotiated with McConnell.
"This was a bipartisan process, and I hope there can be more and I want to thank Leader McConnell for working with us in good faith to get to this point," Schumer said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the limit before next Wednesday and Congress now appears to be on track to achieve that.
Final votes on the second, debt-limit implementing bill are expected in the Senate and House by Tuesday.
Republicans have been maneuvering for months to try to force Democrats to raise the debt limit on their own, seeking to link the move to Biden's proposed $1.75 trillion "Build Back Better" domestic spending bill.
Democrats note that the legislation is needed to finance substantial debt incurred during Donald Trump's administration, when Republicans willingly jacked up Washington's credit card bill by about $7.85 trillion, partly through sweeping tax cuts and spending to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still to come in the prolonged legislative battle is a disclosure of the actual dollar amount for the new cap on Treasury's borrowing, which is expected to cover Washington's expenses through the 2022 midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.
'Right thing to do'
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is up for re-election in Alaska next year, told reporters that she voted earlier with 13 other Republicans to advance the first bill because "it was the right thing to do."
She added that at a time when Russia is amassing troops on its border with Ukraine, "we don't need to be sending signals anywhere in the world that we're not going to back the full faith and credit in the United States."#US Senate #Debt Limit Hike 21-12-10
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