By a vote of 318-97, the chamber overwhelmingly rejected President Barack Obama’s call to increase the $14.3 trillion debt limit without conditions. Even some Democrats supporting Obama’s position voted against it.
House Republicans made a show of voting down a standalone debt limit increase Tuesday, but the failure of the measure will have no effect on ongoing bipartisan negotiations led by Vice President Joseph Biden.
In fact, Republicans and Democrats are no closer to a deal on the amount of spending cuts they insist should be coupled with an increased debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has estimated the debt limit must be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid a default on the government’s obligations.
The measure to raise the debt by more than $2 trillion failed 97-318, with only Democrats supporting it.
The vote instead served a more political purpose, with Republicans hammering Democrats for being unwilling to make significant spending cuts, while Democrats argued the vote was a sham because it was set up to fail.