Washington, DC — The U.S. House voted 285 to 144 to approve a bill to postpone a decision regarding the federal debt ceiling.
For the next three months there will be no limit to the ammount of debt the government can have. The U.S. will borrow to continue to spend as the current budget defines.
The Senate is expected to pass a similar extension. The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed to solve the debt-ceiling issue in the summer of 2011. It stated that it took the place of a budget resolutions for 2012 and 2013. Budget resolutions aren’t laws and the president doesn’t sign them, they set spending priorities. The Budget Control Act of 1974 instructed both chambers to pass the resolutions, and took away President Nixson’s ability to impound funds (halt spending).
There has been no penalty for failing to pass a budget. Several times since 1999 Congress has failed to pass a budget resolution.
The temporary suspension of the $16.4-trillion limit on the nation’s debt had bi-partisan support. District Four Congressman Tom McClintock, who represents the Mother Lode, was one of 33 republicans who voted against the bill. His statement in opposition made before the vote is available in a blog on myMotherLode.com here.
As a part of the passed bill, House and Senate members would not be paid if Congress doesn’t approve a budget by April 15.
The federal budget has a deadline of March 1 to delay or allow $1.2 trillion in previously agreed on spending cuts. Both sides are still in dispute over those automatic spending cuts. On March 27 congress will need to approve funding for government operations or risk a shut down of services across the country.
Shut downs happened at the end of the years 1995 and 1996, with non-essential government workers on furlough and non-essential services suspended for a total of 28 days.