House approves raising debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Republicans’ bill to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion while cutting spending.

>> Read more trending news

The bill passed by the slimmest of margins, 217-215, mostly along party lines, although four Republicans voted against the measure, The New York Times reported.

The legislation would raise the debt ceiling but will also freeze spending at last year’s spending level for the next decade, representing a 14% cut, according to the newspaper.

“The president can no longer put this economy in jeopardy. We lifted the debt limit. We’ve sent it to the Senate,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters. “We’ve done our job -- the only body in here that has done theirs.”

President Joe Biden has threatened to veto the package, which has almost no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate, according to The Associated Press. The president has refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling.

The proposed cuts would affect Biden’s health, climate and tax law, will impose work requirements on social programs and will expand mining and fossil fuel production, according to the Times.

Biden has refused any legislation other than a “clean increase” in the debt ceiling, Fox News reported. Republicans have insisted that the president should agree to trim some of the federal budget.

“Happy to meet with McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended,” Biden said earlier Wednesday, according to the AP. “That’s not negotiable.”

The four Republicans who voted against the measure were Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee and Matt Gaetz of Florida.

The package raises the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit by $1.5 trillion, according to CNN. The plan also states that if the new debt limit is not breached by March 31, 2024, then Congress must again increase the borrowing authority by that date, the news outlet reported.

The 320-page bill, -- called the Limit, Save, Grow Act -- also blocks Biden’s plan to grant student loan forgiveness, CNN reported.

Without action by Congress to raise the borrowing limit, the U.S. government could default as early as this summer, the Times reported.

“Default would be totally irresponsible,” Biden said this week.

“If President Biden’s got a better idea, it’s long past time he puts those ideas on the table,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said Wednesday on the House floor. “This is not a problem you run and hide from. In fact, when you asked to be president of the United States, you’re the commander in chief. You’re the leader of the free world … This is not a job where you run and hide from the tough things. These are the moments where you step up.”