WASHINGTON — The House yesterday cleared legislation that would increase the debt limit by $1.9 billion to $14.3 trillion.
Once signed into law, the measure will allow the Treasury Department to keep borrowing until after the November elections and avoid shutting its window for state and local government series securities, which municipal issuers purchase for refunding escrows to avoid earning arbitrage.
The legislation also would institute pay-as-you-go rules, requiring spending increases to be offset to ensure budget neutrality.
The House approved the measure, which will now go to President Obama for his signature, under an unusual procedure that provided for separate votes on the increase in the debt limit and the pay-as-you-go rules.
The lawmakers voted 217 to 212 for the debt-limit increase and then voted 233 to 187 for the pay-as-you-go-rules.
The action in the House comes after the Senate voted 60 to 39, along party lines, to approve the increase in the debt limit.
Historically when the Treasury bumps up against the limit, one of its first actions is to close the SLGS window, potentially hurting some issuers trying to purchase securities for advance refunding escrows.