News / USA

Senate Votes to Kill House Debt Ceiling Bill

House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)
House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)


Cindy Saine

In another dramatic evening on Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. The Democratic-controlled Senate moved quickly, however, to vote to kill the House bill. It's a high-stakes political battle to avoid the United States' first ever national default on its $14.3 trillion debt by August 2.

Watch related Mil Arcega video report

Friday evening got off to a good start for congressional Republicans. The result of the vote tally in House of Representatives likely came as a relief to House Speaker John Boehner. Congressman Charles Bass was in the chair to announce the vote results.

“The yeas are 218, the nays are 210, the bill is passed. Without objection, a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table,” said Bass.

The revised “Budget Control” bill calls for raising the U.S. borrowing limit in a exchange for more than $900 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. The vote passed without a single Democratic vote and 22 Republican lawmakers voted against it.

Minutes before late Friday’s vote, an impassioned Boehner was cheered by most of his Republican caucus, as he challenged Democrats to come forward with their plan.

“This House has acted," said Boehner. "And it is time for the administration, and time for our colleagues across the aisle, put something on the table! Tell us where you are! [Cheers and applause]

Boehner had scheduled a vote on his bill Thursday, but he had to pull it from the floor after failing to convince enough Tea Party members of his caucus to support it. To avert a potential political disaster, Boehner added a provision which would force both houses of Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling is raised again early next year- something analysts say is very unlikely to happen.

But just two hours after the House vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid moved to hold a vote to kill the House bill, and it passed with 59 Senators voting for it and 41 voting against it. Senator Reid is pushing the Senate to pass his own separate version of a bill that would cut spending and raise the debt ceiling until after the 2012 elections.

Earlier, Democratic senators warned that requiring that a balanced budget amendment pass both chambers of Congress would virtually guarantee that the nation defaults on its debt when the proposed second vote on raising the debt ceiling is held in six months time.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois blasted Republicans for adding what Democrats described as a “poison pill” to the bill.

“Not enough that they [Republicans] are willing to hold our economy hostage with the debt ceiling extension. Not enough that we stop the workings of this government on so many issues that we should be working on," said Durbin. "But now, now the speaker has brought in the requirement to extend the debt ceiling we have to amend the Constitution of the United States of America. This is the most outrageous suggestion I have heard.”

Reid has called on Republican Minority leader Mitch McConnell to join with him to put forward a bipartisan bill which can avert a default.

“The security of our nation, literally the security of our nation, every family, is at stake here," said Reid. "If the debt ceiling is not increased, every American family will feel an increase in their taxes, in various ways, higher payments on all their debts, credit cards, loans they take out to put their kids through school, car payments, mortgages on their houses.”

The White House issued a statement saying the House bill would have the United States face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months. President Barack Obama called on Congress to use the Reid bill as a basis to agree on a bipartisan solution to prevent what he called an avoidable crisis early next week. The president again called on Americans to call their congressman’s office if they want a compromise bill that he can sign before Tuesday, resulting in a high volume of phone calls coming in to congressional offices on Capitol Hill.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs