WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. House, on a 218-214 vote, eked out passage of a temporary increase to the debt ceiling Wednesday.
The House approved a $290 billion increase in the ceiling, raising the limit to $12.4 trillion, MarketWatch.com reported.
The government was approaching its $12.1 trillion debt limit quickly, meaning Congress was feeling pressure to approve a short-term fix. Plans for a much bigger increase fell through after objections from fiscally conservative Democrats.
Thirty-nine Democrats joined all voting Republicans in opposing the debt-limit increase, Roll Call reported.
The deficit is expected to grow by nearly $1.4 trillion this year. The debt ceiling now is at $12.1 trillion, but an increase as high as an $1.925 trillion was being floated. Treasury officials reported to congressional leaders that the cap must be raised by New Year's Eve or the federal government would risk running out of money for Social Security and veterans' payments in January.