House approves deal to raise debt ceiling
The House of Representatives voted in favor of a compromise to raise the debt ceiling Monday night 269-161. The compromise between the White House, Republican and Democrat leaders in Congress will head to the Senate for a vote Tuesday. The deal would allow an initial increase to the debt limit by $400 billion and provide two more steps needed for raising the ceiling by between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bill would cut an initial $917 billion in government spending between 2012 and 2021 and establishes a special committee to seek at least $1.5 trillion in additional savings over the next 10 years. If Congress does not approve the committee's proposal, automatic triggers would slash $1.2 trillion in spending. The deal comes in the final moments of a Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department weeks ago. The bill would avoid the first default in U.S. history and could prevent a downgrade of the long-held triple-A rating. The Obama administration put out a statement Monday evening saying the president would sign the bill should it pass the Senate and reach his desk. "The bill would increase the debt ceiling to a level that will be sufficient for the nation to meet its obligations through the beginning of 2013, while providing both a significant down payment on deficit reduction and a means to reduce the deficit further through a balanced approach that allows both for cutting spending and for addressing revenues by eliminating tax subsidies or through comprehensive tax reform," according to the statement. In a moment of rare solidarity over the last few weeks, members from both sides of the aisle stood to applaud Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). She returned to Washington Monday after more than eight months of recovery from a near-fatal assassination attempt in January in order to vote for the bill. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.