US House passes Republican debt ceiling bill

STORY: In a mostly partisan vote Wednesday, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill to raise the nation's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, defying President Joe Biden by attaching sweeping spending cuts for the next decade.

“We've done our job”

The vote was a win for Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who hopes to lure Biden into negotiations on cutting spending.

“He's putting the American economy in jeopardy by his lack of action. Now he should sit down and negotiate.”

However, the White House and congressional Democrats have been insisting on a debt limit increase with no strings attached.

And if Congress fails to act, the U.S. Treasury Department could run out of ways to pay its bills in a matter of weeks.

The bill proposed would increase Washington's borrowing authority by $1.5 trillion or until March 31 next year, whichever comes first, potentially setting up another debt showdown ahead of the next election.

It would also slash spending to 2022 levels, cap growth at 1% a year, repeal some tax incentives for renewable energy and stiffen work requirements for some antipoverty programs.

McCarthy called on Biden to begin negotiations on a debt limit increase and spending-cut bill and for the Senate to either approve the House bill or to pass its own.

After the vote, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden would not sign off on such cuts, adding quote: "The President has made clear this bill has no chance of becoming law."

The president himself had some choice words when asked about extending the debt ceiling earlier in the day:

"That's not negotiable"

A 2011 standoff over the debt limit led to a downgrade of the government's credit rating, which pushed borrowing costs higher and hammered investments.