WASHINGTON – In what amounted to a symbolic vote of protest, House Republicans on Wednesday passed a resolution opposing a $1.2 trillion increase in the federal debt limit.

WASHINGTON – In what amounted to a symbolic vote of protest, House Republicans on Wednesday passed a resolution opposing a $1.2 trillion increase in the federal debt limit.

Arkansas Reps. Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford and Steve Womack joined other House Republicans in voting for the resolution to reject President Barack Obama’s requested increase.

Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, voted against it.

The resolution, which was backed by 233 Republicans and six fiscally conservative Democrats, carries little weight since a bipartisan deal was struck last August that essentially allows Obama to raise the debt unless two-thirds of the House and Senate vote to disapprove.

Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said he voted for the resolution because he “disapproves” of raising the debt ceiling.

Griffin, R-Little Rock, said the vote was important because it sends a loud message to the president that he needs to do more to reduce the federal deficit.

In August, Democrats and Republicans were at loggerheads over raising the debt ceiling – coming perilously close to a government default that threatened an already fragile economy.

The two sides reached an agreement that would allow the debt ceiling to increase in several steps in combination with $2.1 trillion or more in cuts to government spending.

“The agreement reached in August was not a pretty one,” Griffin said. “But, I felt under the circumstances it was better than the alternative.”

Griffin said that his vote today should not be construed as advocating that the federal government not pay its obligations. Rather, he said, the Obama administration should return to the negotiating table to produce more long-term structural reforms.

“The question now is what has the president done since August to address the debt,” Griffin said. “I don’t think he’s done anything.”

The White House said that in September it issued a comprehensive and detailed plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.

The Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction proposed saving $1 trillion through drawing down combat troops in Afghanistan and transitioning to a civilian-led mission in Iraq.

It also proposed raising $1.5 trillion through comprehensive tax reform including a requirement that those earning more than $1 million a year pay higher rates.

Ross said Wednesday’s resolution was a “political gimmick” that takes attention away from the nation’s fiscal, economic and jobs crisis.

“Instead of rehashing an old issue we’ve already voted on, we need to pick up where the Super Committee failed and find long-term solutions that create jobs, cut the size of government and return us to the days of balanced budgets,” Ross said.

Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, was one of six Democrats to support the resolution. Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., was the only Republican to vote against it. Two other Republicans voted “present.”

Last month, Obama requested that the debt ceiling be increased to $16.394 trillion – a $1.2 trillion hike that is expected to cover government borrowing through the end of 2012.

Womack, R-Rogers, declined to comment on the debt ceiling vote.