Senate kills measure blocking debt hike

Jan. 26, 2012 at 2:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to kill a measure that would have blocked President Obama from raising the national debt ceiling.

The Senate debated for more than two hours Thursday before voting 52-44 to block a motion to disapprove a $1.2 trillion increase that will cover borrowing needs through the November election. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure blocking the increase last week.

The national debt, now at $15.2 trillion, will rise to more than $16 trillion.

The Los Angeles Times said the Senate's decision was expected because the Democrat-led Senate was not likely to back the move to block the increase and risk default.

Two Democrats, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted with Republicans, while Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., voted with the Democrats. Four Republicans missed the vote, The Hill said.

The nation's debt held steady under the Clinton administration but nearly doubled under President George W. Bush to $11.3 trillion due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanded Medicare prescription drug benefits, the Los Angeles Times said. The debt has continued to rise under the Obama administration from the federal stimulus and a decline in tax revenues.

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