Both of Hawaii’s senators expressed concern about the bill, which seeks to impose spending caps for two years and increase work requirements for certain social programs.

WASHINGTON — Hawaii’s U.S. senators, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, both voted Thursday to suspend the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling to help the country avoid defaulting on its debts.

The measure passed with bipartisan support, 63-36, with 44 Democrats and 17 Republicans voting yes. Independents, Angus King and Kirsten Sinema, also voted for approval.

With the threat of default looming, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to suspend the debt ceiling.

Both of Hawaii’s senators voiced their displeasure with the measure, which included GOP-backed provisions to increase work requirements for certain social safety net programs, such as food stamps, and implement spending caps for the next two years.

The deal also included environmental permitting reforms to streamline the approval of energy projects and paved the way for construction of a natural gas pipeline that will run through West Virginia and Virginia.

The bill was the result of months of negotiations between President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who said he would not raise the debt ceiling without some concessions meant to curb government spending.

In a statement released after Thursday’s vote, Hirono blamed “MAGA Republicans,” and particularly those in the House, for using the threat of default to take part in “hostage negotiations to massively cut government services seniors, keiki, and our communities rely on.”

Schatz used similar language this week when discussing the bill and the reason he felt he was forced to vote yes. The risk of default, he said, was just too great.

“This was a ransom,” Schatz said.

The bill passed the U.S. House earlier in the week with both of Hawaii’s Democratic representatives, Ed Case and Jill Tokuda, voting in favor.

Biden is expected to sign the bill soon in order to avert the potential for the U.S. defaulting on its debts and sending the economy into a tailspin.

Of Hawaii’s four-member delegation, three have said they support eliminating the debt ceiling altogether. Case, who has long held fiscally conservative beliefs, is the only member who says it should remain in place.

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