WASHINGTON — A Senate vote last week cleared the way for a $1.2 trillion increase in the nation's debt.
WASHINGTON — A Senate vote last week cleared the way for a $1.2 trillion increase in the nation’s debt.
A Republican resolution that would have disapproved raising the credit limit was shelved in a largely party-line 44-52 vote. It allows the Obama administration to borrow toward a new limit of $16.4 trillion.
A compromise last summer over government borrowing allowed for debates and votes this month that enabled Republicans to go on record against deficit spending but not so far as to prevent the debt hike from going into effect.
The GOP-controlled House voted earlier this month not to allow an increase in the credit limit, but it was never in doubt that the Democrat-controlled Senate would allow it to take place.
Senate debate was largely a replay from the debt showdown in July.
“Federal spending is already out of control, and we all know it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in arguing against further borrowing.
But Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said failure to raise the debt limit would lead to an unprecedented government default.
“At a time when our economy is starting to show signs of recovery, now is exactly the wrong time to risk a contraction,” Baucus said.
Two Democrats — Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — voted with Republicans to block the debt increase. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., voted with Democrats to allow it to go forward.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., voted to allow the debt increase. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., voted against it.
Action in Congress last week was shortened by President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech and by off-Capitol Hill retreats for Senate Republicans and House Democrats.