House passes $1.9 trillion debt limit hike

Feb. 4, 2010 at 7:10 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A $1.9 trillion increase in the U.S. debt limit squeaked through the House of Representatives on a party-line vote Thursday.

Democrats also passed a "pay-as-you-go" bill reinstating rules like those governing spending in the 1990s, Politico reported. That passed 233-187, while the increase in the debt limit, with 37 Democrats jumping ship, had a margin of five votes, 217-212.

The record hike increased the debt ceiling to $14.294 trillion, CNN Money reported. It is expected to allow the Treasury Department to continue to borrow for the rest of the year, allowing Democrats to avoid another controversial vote before the November elections.

Also Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said it is up to Republicans to decide whether they want to participate in a deficit-reduction commission. But Hoyer said President Obama will create a bipartisan commission with room for Republicans.

The last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, participated in a conference call with congressional leaders to push "pay-as-you-go." But some Democrats, like Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey, noted Clinton had the benefit of an economic boom.

"The best deficit-reduction plan is full employment," Andrews said.

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