Congress Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

The House passed a bill Tuesday to raise the debt ceiling, in a 221-201 vote marked by a distinct lack of the rancor that has accompanied similar legislation in the last two years. As of yesterday, the bill has also passed in the Senate, which eliminates any chance of default well in advance of the current debt ceiling (estimated to have been the end of this month).

In even better news, the House bill raises the debt ceiling through March of 2015, alleviating concerns that Congress would pass a short-term extension and enter into more contentious negotiations. Coupled with the Murray-Ryan budget deal and the omnibus appropriations act that passed last month, it appears that Congress is beginning to work together on the appropriations process again – good news for everyone who was adversely impacted by the last government shutdown.

The best news? A higher debt ceiling (and lack of default threat), especially when combined with the two-year framework of the Murray-Ryan budget, means more long-term certainty for appropriators and government customers – and, as we know, certainty (or lack thereof) plays a major role in determining whether customers are able to make new purchases and pursue innovation through COTS products. Also, the pieces are all in place for something we haven’t seen in quite a few years – an actual budget, composed of separate appropriations bills, for FY15. Of course, there’s always time for the situation to change, but for now the appropriations future looks bright.

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