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Senate passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

The U.S. Senate voted 67-28 to pass a two-year debt ceiling increase and government funding package. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the same legislation last month.

The bill suspends the debt limit through July 31, 2021, and funds the government through fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Congress initially missed a March 1 deadline to raise the debt limit, requiring the Treasury Department to take so-called extraordinary measures to service U.S. debt. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in July that the department could run out of cash in early September and urged lawmakers to pass a debt limit increase before leaving for a five-week August recess.

Concerns about the ability of lawmakers to pass debt limit increases and keep the government funded led S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the U.S. long-term sovereign credit rating from AAA to AA+ in August 2011.

The bill now heads to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.