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Congress: Today's symbolic House vote

The AP on today’s symbolic debt-hike vote in the House: “The House on Wednesday is kicking off another session under GOP control by staging a politically-fueled vote against raising the government's borrowing cap by $1.2 trillion as permitted under last summer's bipartisan debt and budget pact. Under that law, supported by all of the top GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, the debt limit is automatically raised 15 days after the president officially notifies lawmakers that the government is close to the current $15.2 trillion cap – unless Congress votes to deny the borrowing increase.”

“Wednesday's measure to block the debt increase is expected to pass the House easily. But it's a dead issue in the Senate, and Obama's veto power serves as a final guarantee that the increase will go through as intended and that the nation won't face another debt crisis like last summer.”

“With television lights glaring, 20 lawmakers will gather next week to revisit the fight that consumed Congress before Christmas over renewing a Social Security payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits,” the AP writes. “Little real work will be done, but the meeting will mark the formal start of an effort to untangle a dispute that both parties want to resolve, though for different reasons.” AP then breaks down in a Q&A what the payroll tax cut fight is about.