News / USA

House Approves Temporary Extension of US Debt Limit

House Approves Short-term Suspension of US Debt Ceilingi
X
January 24, 2013 12:13 AM
The US House of Representatives voted to delay a potential debt default Wednesday by approving a bill that would allow Washington to keep borrowing to pay its expenses for the next four months. Republicans hope passage of the short term debt ceiling bill will give both parties time to reach a compromise on spending cuts. But as Mil Arcega reports some Democrats say it does nothing to fix long term fiscal issues facing the United States.

House Approves Short-term Suspension of US Debt Ceiling

Cindy Saine
— The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a Republican bill to suspend the legal limit on government borrowing until mid-May. If the bill is passed by the Senate and signed by the president, which appears likely, it will delay a major showdown between Democratic President Barack Obama and Congress over budget and spending issues, and stave off the threat of the United States defaulting on its national debt.

In a surprise move just days after President Obama's second inauguration, House Republicans retreated from earlier demands for a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar they increase the legal limit on borrowing, and introduced a bill that would extend the debt limit until May 19.  The bill passed by a vote of 288 to 185. 

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said it is time that the White House and the Democratic-controlled Senate come up with a budget that addresses the soaring national debt.

"It is time for Congress to get serious about this, and this is first step in an effort to bring real fiscal responsibility to Washington. It is real simple: no budget, no pay," Boehner said.

House Republicans added a requirement to the temporary debt limit extension, specifying that both chambers of Congress must adopt a budget by April 15, as required by law, or have their congressional pay withheld until the start of the new Congress in 2015. 

A number of Democrats called this move a political "gimmick," and some said it is unconstitutional. A number of Democrats complained that extending the debt ceiling by less than four months did little to provide much-needed certainty to the economy.

U.S. debt ceilingU.S. debt ceiling
x
U.S. debt ceiling
U.S. debt ceiling
Democratic Congressman Sander Levin said this: "This Republican bill is not a change in policy, it’s a change in tactics. House Republicans continue to play with economic fire. They’re playing political games with the debt ceiling, and that undermines certainty."

Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called on Democrats to vote against it.

"Three months. Where is the certainty in three months? We should not even be having a debate. It should be no doubt that the full faith and credit of the United States will be honored, and that is what our Constitution says," Pelosi said.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he plans to introduce a budget in the Senate soon anyway, and said a short-term debt ceiling extension is better than another immediate showdown with Republicans.

"But to spare the middle class another knock-down, drag-out fight, we are going to proceed work on this legislation and get it out of here as fast as we can," Reid said.

Reid said he plans to take up the bill quickly, and the White House also made clear that President Obama would not oppose the House bill. Without congressional action on the debt ceiling, the United States would not have been able to pay its bills some time around mid-February, which could have had a significant impact on the global economy.

Some Senate Democrats said House Republicans appear to be in "full retreat," just weeks after going to the brink on a series of measures known as the fiscal cliff, where both chambers of Congress passed a bill that raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans over the resistance of most House Republicans.  

Analysts say this is the first time in a long time that the House acted on a controversial budget or spending measure well ahead of the deadline, but they also point out that there are likely to be more battles to come between Democrats and Republicans over severe, across-the-board spending cuts and a vote on funding the federal government - both set to happen in March.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid