WASHINGTON — In a symbolic vote of protest, the Republican-led House last week passed a resolution disapproving a $1.2 trillion increase in the federal debt ceiling.
The House approved the resolution, 239-176. One Republican voted against it, and six fiscally conservative Democrats voted for it.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to kill a similar resolution, clearing the way for the government’s borrowing limit to increase to $16.394 trillion.
In the House, Democrats challenged the resolution to block the latest debt increase. They claimed Republicans had, in essence, agreed to it last August in a deal struck to avoid the government’s first-ever default on its obligations.
“Less than six months ago, 174 Republicans voted for precisely what they are voting against today,” said Rep. John Yarmouth, D-Ky. “This is not leadership, and it certainly is not governing. It’s an ideological game that has ventured well beyond the absurd.”
But Republicans said the vote was intended to send a fresh message to President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress that much more work is needed to resolve the nation’s debt crisis.
“Let’s deal with the substance of the day. Let’s deal with the underlying national crisis that is represented in our national debt,” said Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., who introduced the resolution.
Reps. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei, both R-Nev., voted to disapprove the debt increase. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., did not vote.
In August, Congress reached an 11th-hour compromise that allowed the debt ceiling to be raised in two phases unless Congress voted it down. The measure also called for the federal deficit to be reduced by as much as $2.5 trillion over the next decade.
Congress raised the limit with just hours to spare before a default deadline.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Peter Urban at purban
@stephensmedia.com or at 202-783-1760.