▶ Watch Video: Debt limit deal goes to Senate for approval

Washington — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to keep the upper chamber in session and pass the bill to suspend the debt ceiling and limit government spending “as soon as possible” to avoid a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt. 

The Senate is under pressure to approve the legislation before Monday, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has projected the federal government will run out of cash to pay its bills. The House passed the legislation late Wednesday in a strong bipartisan vote. 

“We will keep working until the job is done,” Schumer said Thursday on the Senate floor. “Time is a luxury the Senate does not have, if we want to prevent default.” 

Senate Minority Whip John Thune told reporters that final passage of the bill could come Friday, but the exact timing depends on the number of amendments that will be offered. 

Schumer said “any needless delay” or “last-minute holdups” would be a “dangerous risk.” Several senators are pushing for votes to amend various portions of the 99-page bill, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. The approval of any amendments would require the House to pass the new version before sending it to President Biden’s desk.

“Any change to this bill that forces us to send it back to the House would be entirely unacceptable. It would almost guarantee default,” Schumer said. 

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is seeking to strike a provision in the debt ceiling bill that fast-tracks construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is offering an amendment with more dramatic spending cuts.

GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah wants to remove a portion of the bill that allows the Office of Management and Budget to waive some restrictions on spending if doing so is needed “for the delivery of essential services.” 

Asked Wednesday about timing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes the holdouts agree to proceed with a final vote before the weekend if their amendments are given a vote. 

“What I hope happens is that those who have amendments, if given votes, will yield back time so that we can finish this Thursday or Friday and soothe the country and soothe the markets,” McConnell said. 

Alan He contributed reporting.