House Disapproves of President's Request to Raise Debt Ceiling

The House of Representatives voted this afternoon to pass a resolution of disapproval on President Obama's request to increase the statutory debt limit by $1.2 trillion.

The resolution passed by a count of 239-176, with two GOP members voting present.

The resolution is not binding, and states that "the Congress disapproves of the president's exercise of authority to increase the debt limit." Even if the Senate were to approve the resolution of disapproval, the president could veto the resolution and get his debt limit increase anyways.

Just one Republican, Rep. David Dreier of California, voted with Democrats opposing the resolution of disapproval. Six Democrats voted with the Republicans.

Last week, Obama sent Congress a request to increase the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion, which would raise the government's credit limit to $16.394 trillion. As part of the Budget Control Act passed by Congress last August, both chambers of Congress may vote on resolutions of disapproval within 15 days following the president's request.

"This debt ceiling increase is a symptom of overspending that has consumed Washington for far too long," Freshman Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said during debate on the House floor this afternoon. "President Obama's request for a $1.2 trillion increase in the debt limit points to the serious fiscal challenges we have found ourselves in due to years of irresponsible and reckless spending."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that today's vote "is just another exercise in that juvenile behavior" by House Republicans.

"The very idea that the country had to undergo the juvenile behavior of the Republicans this summer, when they were willing to jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States of America to such an extent that our credit rating was downgraded, to such an extent that our reputation for seriousness was questioned," Pelosi, D-Calif., said just before the vote. "It, I think, sent a message to the American people that it was important for them to know about the tea party Congress."

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said that increasing the debt limit "is about whether America will pay its bills" and the vote is a "political game."

"This legislation is to pay bills that we've already incurred. Whether it was incurred with your votes or our votes, we have incurred those expenses," Hoyer, D-Md., said. "The President doesn't want this money. It's not for the President. It's for bills that we incurred in fighting two wars, in giving tax cuts, primarily to the wealthiest in America, to passing a prescription drug program that, frankly, all of us now support, but we didn't pay for it."

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