In an unsurprising vote, Republicans block the president's wishes for a stand-alone hike in the federal limit
The House voted 97-318 on Tuesday to reject a bill to allow a $2.4 trillion hike in the nation's debt limit without accompanying spending cuts. The pre-ordained, and entirely unsurprising, outcome was embraced by the Republican majority as a clear message of the measure's unpopularity among the American people, while Democrats derided it as a "sham."
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"The fact is that what's happening on this floor is not serious," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Added House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, D-Conn.: "It's politics. We get it. It's a sham."
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had a different view, saying the vote shows the House "is listening to the American people."
"The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have repeatedly asked for a debt-limit hike without any spending cuts and budget reforms, and the American people simply will not tolerate it," said Boehner.
The bill's defeat -- not a single Republican voted for it -- now sets the stage for meetings between President Obama and the entire House Republican Conference on Wednesday at the White House, and a separate meeting between Obama and House Democrats on Thursday. Seven lawmakers voted only "present."