The House voted Wednesday largely along party lines to voice their opposition to further raising the debt ceiling, a symbolic gesture in response to President Obama's formal request for $1.2 trillion in increased borrowing authority.
Lawmakers passed what is known as a "Resolution of Disapproval" meant to register their dissatisfaction with the president's most recent request for an increase in the debt ceiling. The request -- along with today's symbolic vote -- were both established in last summer's deal on the debt ceiling and spending reduction.
The bill passed 239-179 with overwhelming Republican support, along with the votes of six Democrats. One GOP lawmaker voted against the bill. along with 175 House Democrats.
The motion is expected to fail in in the Senate, however, making today's vote little more than an effort for members of Congress to register their opposition to another tranche of borrowing (while avoiding having to risk any fiscal or financial fallout as a result). Even if the Senate were to approve this motion, Obama could veto the resolution, meaning each House would have to muster even stronger margins to overcome the president's veto.
Nonetheless, Wednesday's vote was designed as part of the debt limit deal struck last August, in order to give Republicans the chance to go on record against the debt limit increases that that bill authorized.
The Obama administration had indicated that it had intended to request the new wave of borrowing earlier in January, but it pushed back its request in response to congressional leaders who had wanted the opportunity to register their formal opposition.
Last week, Obama requested the third of three debt limit increases allowed to him under the bill. The $1.2 trillion dollar increase is expected to take the country through the end of this year.
House Democrats, who overwhelmingly voted against the measure, consider the vote another example of Republicans taking the nation’s economy to "the precipice" of default.
"The reason why the Republicans are bringing this up is a face-saver for their hardlined people who make the wrong association between national debt and paying what you already owe," Rep. John Larson (D-CT) told reporters today. "That's why we believe this is a fraudulent issue, a totally manufactured issue with respect to the debt ceiling."