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Congress has about a week to pass the debt-limit agreement, and avoid default


President Biden says he strongly urges Congress to right away pass an agreement he's made with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to raise the nation's borrowing limit. The deal, NPR has learned, raises the debt limit for two years. It freezes nondefense spending in fiscal year 2024 and allows a 1% increase in 2025. There are no changes to Medicaid, and Biden's Inflation Reduction Act remains largely, though not totally, intact. That's the big law passed last summer with tax credits for electric vehicles and money for renewable energy programs, provisions to lower the cost of some prescription drugs and cap out-of-pocket costs for people on Medicare and new corporate taxes. The debt limit also includes time limits on SNAP benefits for people under 55, with some exceptions.

The agreement now goes to Congress, which has just about seven days to debate and pass it. If not, America won't have money to pay service members, Social Security benefits or the holders of U.S. debt. All this follows weeks of high-stakes negotiations between the White House and House Republicans over how the U.S. government should spend money. Here's Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the deal last night.


KEVIN MCCARTHY: After weeks of negotiations, we have come to an agreement in principle. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe this is an agreement in principle that's worthy of the American people. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is the host of "Weekend Edition Sunday" and the Saturday episodes of "Up First." As host of the morning news magazine, she interviews news makers, entertainers, politicians and more about the stories that everyone is talking about or that everyone should be talking about.