The House today passed a symbolic resolution of disapproval of President Barack Obama’s request to increase the debt limit.
The 239-176 vote was a highly orchestrated bit of political theater: As part of last summer’s debt ceiling deal, Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) put in place a process that would allow Republicans to vote against his request while ensuring there was virtually no chance they could actually block it.
Conservatives would need to muster a veto-proof vote margin in both the House and Senate voting against Obama’s $1.2 trillion increase request, a scenario that was never realistic. Obama’s request to raise the debt ceiling goes into effect absent a resolution of disapproval passing both chambers. Even if both chambers did so, Obama could veto it.
Still, conservatives used the vote to hammer Obama.
“The fact that we are here today discussing more federal spending, as opposed to less, proves once and for all just how out of touch the Obama administration is with the reality of the fiscal crisis facing the country,” Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said in a statement. “We cannot continue to sit back and do nothing, blindly increasing our country’s debt obligations year after year, and not expect it to come back to haunt us in the future.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.