Two days before the Treasury Department estimated it would run out of money to pay the nation’s debts, President Biden signed into law on Saturday a bill that suspends the debt ceiling, cuts federal spending and averts a government default as part of a deal that ended months of partisan wrangling.

In an Oval Office address on Friday night, Biden said that in addition to preventing the dire financial consequences of a default, the measure would maintain gains from the wide-ranging agenda he had pushed through during his first two years in office.

And it bolstered the argument that is expected to be at the heart of his pitch for a second term: that he is a seasoned, competent leader who is able to deliver results in a polarized nation.

“Passing this budget agreement was critical. The stakes could not have been higher,” Biden said. “No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed. We averted an economic crisis and an economic collapse.”

The White House announced his signature to the measure with little fanfare. A statement thanked the top House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle “for their partnership.”

The White House opted not to hold the sort of celebratory ceremony that often attends hard-fought legislation, a reflection of the difficult compromises made by both sides and the reality that many in each party remain dissatisfied and even angry at the final product.

The passage of the budget agreement had the additional benefit for Biden of postponing any additional debt limit standoffs until after the 2024 election.

The debt measure joins other bipartisan bills from Biden’s presidency, including measures that invested in the nation’s infrastructure, bolstered semiconductor manufacturing, addressed gun violence and helped veterans exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those bills came at a time when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, albeit by razor-thin margins. The debt ceiling deal arguably comes amid a more difficult landscape — five months after Republicans took control of the House, leaving Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to preside over his own narrow majority that includes a significant faction of hard-line conservatives.

In his remarks Friday, Biden went out of his way to praise the speaker. The two leaders had met three times in recent months as the debt ceiling negotiations intensified.

“I want to commend Speaker McCarthy,” the president said. “You know, he and I, we and our teams, were able to get along, get things done. We were straightforward with one another, completely honest with one another and respectful with one another. Both sides operated in good faith. Both sides kept their word.”

The Senate approved the debt measure Thursday night on a 63-to-36 vote, allowing Biden just days to sign it before Monday, when the government would no longer be able to pay all of its bills without borrowing more.

The deal, which cleared the House 314 to 117 on Wednesday, suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025. The Congressional Budget Office says the legislation will reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Still, both leaders may yet have a political price to pay. The most outspoken House conservatives remain furious at McCarthy, saying he gave away his leverage and won few concessions. And some liberals are bitter at the provisions accepted by Biden, including additional work requirements for welfare recipients and easier permitting for fossil fuel projects.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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