News / USA

US House Passes Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling

Speaker of the House John Boehner returns to his office after emergency legislation to avert a government default and cut federal spending passed a vote in the House of Representatives, Aug. 1, 2011
Speaker of the House John Boehner returns to his office after emergency legislation to avert a government default and cut federal spending passed a vote in the House of Representatives, Aug. 1, 2011
Cindy Saine

The U.S. House of Representatives late Monday passed a bill to raise the country's debt ceiling in exchange for cuts in government spending - one day ahead of a potential default on America's $14.3 trillion national debt.  The action now shifts to the Senate.

The spotlight was on the House of Representatives as the speaker, Republican John Boehner, read the vote tally on the final vote to raise the debt ceiling and avert default.

"'Ayes' are 269, the 'nays' are 161," said Boehner. "The bill is passed, and without objection a motion to reconsider is laid on the table."

House Democrats had a surprise to make the vote even more momentous, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained:

“To witness the return of our colleague who is the personification of courage, of sincerity, of admiration throughout the country, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords," said Pelosi.

Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot and critically wounded in January during an assassination attempt and has been recovering ever since.  It was the first time in  the House chamber since the shooting.  Giffords waved and thanked her congressional colleagues, who gave her a standing ovation.  In a statement, she said she wanted to return to Congress to vote for the debt ceiling legislation.

U.S. Debt Deal Facts

  • It allows the debt ceiling to rise by up to $2.4 trillion - enough to keep the country borrowing money until 2013.
  • It includes spending cuts that could reach $2.5 trillion, to exceed the amount of the debt ceiling increase.
  • It initally cuts spending by at least $900 billion over 10 years, and creates a bipartisan budget committee to find additional deficit reduction of at least $1.5 trillion.
  • If the committee fails by late November to find additional ways to reduce the deficit, the failure would trigger automatic cuts across the government to take effect in 2013. Among them would be the first reduction in Defense Department spending in decades.
  • The deal does not include the Republicans' goal of requiring a balanced-budget amendment. It also leaves out the Democrats' plan to end some tax cuts for the wealthy.

After weeks of negotiations between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders to forge a deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit, attention shifted Monday to House Democrats, who were unhappy with the agreement crafted late Sunday.  A turning point might have come when House Minority Leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer came out in support of the bill on the House floor.

Representative Hoyer:

“I am voting for this bill - not because I like this bill, although it does do some things that I think need to be done," said Hoyer. "We need to bring down the [budget] deficit; we need to address the [national] debt; we need to return to fiscal responsibility.  But default for the United States of America is not an option.”

The bipartisan bill would raise the U.S. debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion, enough to assure the federal government’s financial solvency through next year’s national elections - something the president insisted on.  It also provides for two rounds of spending cuts.

Several liberal Democrats said they could not support the bill because they feel it is unbalanced - cutting social programs for the America's least fortunate and not asking anything of the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers.  They said President Obama had compromised too much to win the support of conservative and libertarian Tea Party Republicans.

On the other side of the aisle, several Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee expressed concern about potential cuts in defense spending.   Before the vote, Republican Representative David Dreier appealed for lawmakers from both major parties to vote for the legislation.

“Mr. Speaker, we are all in this together - Democrat and Republican alike," said Dreier. "We all stand to suffer tremendously, if we fail to either raise the debt ceiling or take this opportunity to fundamentally change course.”

The debt ceiling compromise faces its final hurdle with a Tuesday vote planned in the Senate, where analysts say it will likely pass and to go to President Obama for his signature.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid