A bill that will suspend the debt ceiling, impose caps on federal spending and make major changes to work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program got final approval from the Senate late Thursday, clearing the measure for President Joe Biden's signature in time to avert a government default.

The Senate voted 63-36 to approve the Fiscal Responsibility Act after rejecting a series of largely symbolic amendments, any one of which could have derailed the measure by forcing its return to the House for another vote in that chamber. 

Forty-six Democrats joined 17 Republicans in supporting the bill.

The legislation, a product of tense negotiations between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was approved by the House on Wednesday, 314-117, with large majorities of both parties. The bill will suspend the debt ceiling until 2025. 

“For all the ups and downs and twists and turns to get here, it is so good for this country that parties have come together at last to avoid default,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said prior to the final vote. 

Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall was among the Republicans who rejected the Biden-McCarthy deal. “This legislation pours gasoline on the already burning inflation inferno and fails to adequately address our No. 1 long-term national security threat, our nation's crippling debt,” Marshall said in a statement. 

The bill will increase the maximum age for SNAP work requirements from 49 to 54, but also add exemptions for the homeless, veterans and young people under 24 who have left the foster care system. Approximately 78,000 people will gain benefits in an average month under the SNAP exemptions, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The rules changes will sunset in 2030. 

An amendment proposed by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., would have removed the 2030 sunset but failed, 46-51. 

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Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, told reporters Tuesday that the bill would take changes to SNAP work requirements off the table during the farm bill, which is set to expire later this year. 

“As far as I'm concerned, this issue is dealt with,” Stabenow told reporters Wednesday before the House voted on the measure. She reiterated that position on Thursday after House Republicans suggested they would revisit the exemptions during the farm bill debate. 

House Ag Committee Chair Glenn Thompson, a Pennsylvania Republican, told Agri-Pulse on Wednesday night that he wasn't ruling out revising the exemptions

“I certainly respect the senator and I think we’ve accomplished some decent things,” Thompson told Agri-Pulse after the House vote. “But, honestly, we may want to revisit those three categories that were defined out to make sure that they have access to the full range of benefits that the White House excluded them from.”

The bill also includes some permitting reforms intended to streamline reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told Agri-Pulse the bill will set “pretty significant “new time limits for NEPA reviews. 

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