The debt ceiling is a numerical limit, set by Congress, on how much money the federal government can borrow to pay its bills. Increasing the debt ceiling is a routine congressional task, but Republicans want to hold it hostage to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even though failing to raise the limit would cause massive economic devastation.
The winter cold of the holiday season has brought about an expected surge in COVID cases, but it has also resulted in a number of other illnesses that were not expected, or not expected to hit as hard as they have.
Under Democratic control, the federal government acted to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs; fight climate change and lower energy costs; invest in gun safety and mental healthcare; and implement a generational investment in American industry, manufacturing, and infrastructure.
Democratic lawmakers tried to pass a second bill that would have added paid sick days to the agreement, but were unable to reach the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate, due to most Republican senators opposing the measure.