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House Passes Symbolic Disapproval Resolution

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Democratic Reps. Jim Moran (left) and Hank Johnson conduct a news conference at the House Triangle on Wednesday to introduce a bill that would eliminate the federal debt ceiling.

The House passed a resolution of disapproval of President Barack Obama’s authority to raise the debt ceiling on a largely party-line vote of 232-186 on Wednesday.

The vote, part of the deal struck in early August to raise the debt ceiling and designed by Republicans to tag the politically painful debt ceiling increase to Obama and his fellow Democrats, is largely meaningless after the Senate voted down the resolution last week.

But the debate that inspired it, how to reduce deficits, is still raging in the Capitol over whether the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction will “go big” and aim for lowering debt by $4 trillion or more.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a group of Blue Dog Democrats and others have all made high-profile calls for ambitious targets for the deficit-reducing super committee.

Meanwhile, a group of liberal House Members on Wednesday aimed to abolish the debt ceiling altogether to prevent the vote from being used as leverage in budget talks.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said future acrimonious debt ceiling debates were a “serious, recurring threat.” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said the summer’s debt ceiling standoff was among the most “reckless political stunts in modern American history.”

The two introduced legislation that would make debt ceiling increases automatic.

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