WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday afternoon to suspend the federal government's borrowing authority until May 19 to avoid a potential default and debt crisis.
Voting 285-144, the House passed the Republican crafted "No Budget, No Pay" measure, which raises the federal government's current $16.4 trillion statutory debt limit until May 19, at which time money would be provided to cover the increase in the debt level through that date.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the chamber would move to advance the legislation for President Obama's signature. Administration officials said yesterday that they would support the bill.
The measure also requires House and Senate leaders to pass a budget resolution by April 15 or place member's salaries in an escrow account.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the bill a "plan to balance the budget over the next 10 years."
"It's time for Congress to get serious about this and this is the first step in an effort to bring real fiscal responsibility to Washington," Boehner said.
Some Democrats opposed the debt limit legislation because they claimed it's short-term nature creates further economic uncertainty.
The ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., called the measure "another big dose of economic uncertainty."
"This is a political effort simply to increase their negotiating strategy — leveraged three months from now — at the expense of jobs and the economy and the American people," Van Hollen said on the House floor.