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U.S. House Passes Debt Ceiling Extension Bill
Source: cri.cn
Source Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Focus: Internet Governance
Country: United States
Created: Jan 29, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to extend the debt limit through the middle of May, buying a bit more time for the overarching budget debate.

The bill, which cleared the House by a 285-144 vote, would suspend the 16.4-trillion-dollar debt ceiling until May 19, allowing the federal government to issue debt and pay bills before that date.

The measure, initiated by the House Republicans, will temporarily defuse the default crisis, and at the same time set a timeline for the next phase of budget wrangling.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the chamber would immediately move to advance the legislation to the White House, and the White House has indicated it won't block the bill.

White House spokesman Jay Carney welcomed the vote of the House to approve the bill, and reiterated that the Obama administration would have preferred a longer-term extension of the debt authority to avoid continued uncertainty over this issue.

The House Republicans backed down from the demand that any debt ceiling increase be paired with comparable spending cuts. They shifted from default threat in order to force the Senate to pass a budget to cut government outlays.

Pressure now increases on the Senate that hasn't produce a budget since 2009. The bill requires each chamber to pass a budget resolution by April 15 or have their pay withheld.
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