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

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid