With an August deadline looming, the House overwhelmingly refused Tuesday to raise the legal limit on government borrowing, setting the stage for a long, sweaty summer of haggling over the shape of the largest debt-reduction package in at least two decades.Read the rest here.
Not a single GOP lawmaker voted to support the measure to raise the limit on the national debt from $14.3 trillion to $16.7 trillion — a sum sufficient to cover the government’s bills through the end of next year. Republican leaders said their troops would reject any increase without a plan to sharply curtail spending and, thus, future borrowing.
“Tonight’s vote illustrates that there is no support in the People’s House for a debt-limit increase without real spending cuts and binding budget process reforms,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), adding, “The families and business owners throughout the country want Washington to begin to live within its means and stop maxing out the credit card.”
Polls show a higher debt limit is extremely unpopular with a large majority of voters, which has left Democrats leery of calling for an increase. On Tuesday, as the House voted 318 to 97 against raising the limit, nearly half of House Democrats sided with the Republicans. In so doing, they ignored a long-standing request from the Obama administration to boost the limit before plunging into a complex and politically difficult battle over the size of the federal budget.
“I don’t intend to advise our members to subject themselves to a 30-second political ad and attack,” House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said hours before the vote, noting that GOP leaders had offered the bill with the intention of letting their members vote against it. Seven Democrats voted present as a way of protesting the manner in which the Republican majority called up the bill.