News / USA

US House Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling

FILE - House Speaker John Boehner gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 6, 2014.FILE - House Speaker John Boehner gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 6, 2014.
x
FILE - House Speaker John Boehner gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 6, 2014.
FILE - House Speaker John Boehner gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 6, 2014.
Cindy Saine
In an abrupt change of course, the Republican-led House of Representatives has voted to raise the nation's debt limit, with no policy conditions attached.  The vote was 221 in favor and 201 against, with all but two Democrats voting for it, while only 28 Republicans came out in support and 199 voted against.
 
Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi delivered the votes necessary to pass the bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid default on government debt. 
 
President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress had been calling for months for a so-called “clean” vote to raise the debt ceiling - one with no conditions attached.  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thanked Republican House Speaker John Boehner for not letting the full faith and credit of the United States come into question.
 
“I thank the speaker for giving us this opportunity.  This is really important to bring legislation to the floor that is consistent with the intent of the Constitution and with the best interests of the American people,” said Pelosi.
 
Earlier in the day, Speaker Boehner surprised many by calling for a quick, clean vote, after failing to persuade a majority in his own party to back his plan to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
 
The Republican speaker had wanted to link the action to repeal of an unpopular military pension cut.  But conservative Republicans objected, saying it would not do anything to cut government spending and reduce the deficit.
 
Boehner said House Republicans are angry at President Obama for refusing to even negotiate spending cuts in trade for raising the debt ceiling.
 
"He [President Obama] is the one driving up the debt.  Then the question they [Republicans] are asking is, ‘Well, why should I deal with his debt limit?’  And so the fact is, we will let the Democrats put the votes up.  We will put a minimum number of votes up to get it passed,“ said Boehner.
 
The move is a shift for Boehner, who in 2011 vowed not to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats offered an equal amount of spending cuts, leading to a dramatic last-minute showdown to raise the debt ceiling just hours ahead of a potential default, with the president signing a deficit reduction agreement.
 
But for the past two years, President Obama has refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling, and now a White House official has said he hopes the tactic for threatening default for budget debates is over and will never come again.
 
The Democratic-led Senate also is expected to pass a debt ceiling bill with no conditions attached in the coming days.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had said that he is now using extraordinary measures to pay U.S. bills and that Congress needs to act by February 27.

You May Like

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

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