House passes bill to defuse debt crisis

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has passed a bill to permit the government to borrow enough money to avoid a default for at least four months, defusing a crisis looming next month and setting the stage for a springtime debate over taxes, spending and the deficit.

The House passed the measure by a 285-144 vote, a bipartisan showing on an initiative brought by majority Republicans. The GOP is backing away from its previous demand that any increase in the government's borrowing cap be paired with an equivalent level of spending cuts.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the chamber would immediately move to advance the legislation to the White House, which has announced that Obama would sign it.

Now to the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Senate Democrats will support a House Republican bill extending the government's ability to borrow for four months.

The Nevada Democrat told reporters Wednesday the Senate would pass the bill "as quickly as possible," meaning it could go to President Barack Obama as soon as this week. The House was voting on the bill Wednesday.

Reid said he preferred a longer extension, and he mocked a Republican provision that says lawmakers will lose their paychecks unless Congress passes a budget. Nevertheless, Reid said Senate Democrats plan to pass the bill as is.

He said it is a victory for Obama that House Republicans abandoned their demand that increasing the government's ability to borrow be accompanied by cuts in government spending.


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