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House Passes Debt Ceiling Bill, Debate Shifts to Senate

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- After a night and day of uncertainty, cajoling and tweaking, House Republicans prevailed in narrowly passing their proposal to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion and cuts spending by about that much and require another debt ceiling vote in about six months.

House Republicans’ bill, which was written by Speaker John Boehner and passed 218 to 210, is doomed to fail in the Senate, where all Democrats have already pledged to oppose it. Democrats in the House also held the line and not a single one supported Boehner’s proposal. Twenty-two Republicans also opposed their party leadership’s self-described imperfect legislation.

Passage of Boehner’s bill could, however, strengthen the Republicans’ position, showing their unity as they enter negotiations with the Senate on what kind of compromise can ultimately pass both chambers of Congress and raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2nd, when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said the government will start to default on its debt.

That drama will play out over the weekend and into next week as senators begin consideration of their own bill, which would raise the debt ceiling through the coming general election and into 2013. The specifics of what language senators will consider are not yet set.

Boehner delivered a fiery speech before the vote began, accusing the White House and President Obama of not offering their own proposal in months of negotiations.

“I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the President of the United States,” Boehner said, pointing out that until last week he was ready to accept some increased tax revenues to achieve a larger deficit reduction bargain.

“Put something on the table,” he yelled. “Tell this country where you are.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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