Friday, February 1, 2013
WASHINGTON — Congress sent President Barack Obama drama-free legislation on Thursday raising the debt ceiling, averting a government default and putting off the next tax-and-spending clash between the White House and Republicans until later in the year.
The measure cleared the Senate on a vote of 64-34 after winning House approval late last week. It permits the Treasury to borrow above the current $16.4 trillion debt limit through May 18. The White House has said Obama will sign it.
The debt limit measure came with only one string attached by House Republicans, a provision that would temporarily withhold the pay of lawmakers in either house that failed to produce a budget this year.
That was designed as a prod to the Senate, where majority Democrats have failed to bring a budget to a vote in any of the past three years. This year, they say they will. Republicans say they are eager for a comparison of plans, rather than a long year spent defending one of their own.