U.S. debt ceiling raised

By United Press International  |  Dec. 17, 2009 at 9:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives took steps to increase the borrowing power of the federal government, which was nearing its credit limit of $12.1 trillion.

The House, on a 218-214 vote, Wednesday advanced a measure to increase the federal debt limit by $290 billion. It also passed on a $154 billion economic-aid package and a $636 billion defense authorization.

Last week House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the debt ceiling would need to be increased by more than $1.8 trillion to give the government a sufficient line of credit. Wednesday's House vote came as the United States technically passed its current debt ceiling as U.S. Treasury figures show the country owes $12.135 trillion.

The new limit awaits consideration by the Senate.

The economic-aid measure provides funds to extend unemployment benefits, aid for state governments and spending on infrastructure. Some of the money for that bill is expected to be taken from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The defense bill includes more than $128 billion to pay for the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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