House Votes to Suspend Debt Limit

January 23, 2013

A measure to suspend the nation’s legal limit on borrowing for nearly four months cleared a key vote in the House Wednesday, as Republicans broadly endorsed a new tactic that would temporarily remove the threat of a potentially calamitous government default from their ongoing fight with Democrats over government spending.

The measure, which would set aside the legal debt ceiling and allow the government to borrow as needed to meet spending obligations through May 18, was adopted on a 285 to 144 vote.

Just before the vote, Democratic leaders in the Senate said they would accept the House measure without changes and a Senate vote is expected as soon as next week. And the White House, too, has said President Obama will not stand in the way of the bill.

As a result, House passage apparently eliminates the possibility of an economy-rattling crisis next month, when the Treasury Department has said it will exhaust extraordinary measures put in place to extend its ability to borrow since the government hit its $16.4 trillion limit on Dec. 31.

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