The Washington Post

House votes to formally disapprove of debt ceiling hike

The House voted 232 to 186 Wednesday to formally disapprove of President Obama’s recent action to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by $500 billion, a vote that had no practical impact but allowed Republicans to once again express their displeasure at government borrowing.

The procedure leading to the vote was an arcane bit of the August debt deal, designed to technically transfer the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling from Congress to the president. While the deal allowed for the debt limit to rise, it required that the president take action to formally lift it. It then allowed for Congress to vote to reject his action.

The vote was always designed to be symbolic — the president could veto the action, and Republicans would not be able to muster the two-third vote of both chambers necessary to override his veto and refuse the debt ceiling increase.

It grew only more so last week, when the Senate blocked a similar measure.

Though 174 Republicans voted to support the August deal that allowed the debt ceiling to rise, 228 voted against the president’s action to actually lift it. Two others voted “present” and did not register an opinion, and four others did not vote.

Democrats were just as uniformly in support of the president’s action. Only four voted to express their displeasure, while 181 voted against the disapproval motion. Seven did not vote.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

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