A bill that would raise the U.S. debt limit by $2.4 trillion failed to win House approval yesterday in a vote Democrats said was rigged to ensure its defeat.

Last week, Republicans who control the House of Representatives announced the vote as a way to demonstrate that lawmakers don’t support extending the $14.3 trillion debt limit unless agreement is reached with President Barack Obama’s administration on significant spending cuts to curb government spending.

The vote on the debt-limit increase was 97 in favor, all Democrats, and 318 opposed — 236 Republicans and 82 Democrats. Support for the increase not only failed to win a simple majority; it fell 180 votes short of the 277 votes, or two- thirds of those voting, that were needed for passage under the streamlined procedures Republicans used to bring the measure to the floor.

The House vote was held as congressional leaders continue to seek agreement on a package of spending cuts in negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden in time to raise the debt ceiling by an Aug. 2 deadline. Biden has said that negotiators are trying to find savings of $1 trillion over 10 years.

With 87 freshmen Republican lawmakers, many elected with support of the Tea Party movement, Boehner has sought to reassure his members that he will insist in negotiations that such spending cuts are imposed as a condition of raising the debt ceiling.

Boehner has said that spending cuts should exceed the amount by which Congress increases the borrowing authority.

Continue reading →