WASHINGTON — No one expected the House to approve a debt limit increase Tuesday night and it didn't, with the aid of a local Republican.
Rep. Mike Pompeo of Wichita opposed a bill to increase the country's legal borrowing limit, along with his Kansas GOP colleagues Kevin Yoder, Lynn Jenkins and Tim Huelskamp.
The bill fell 318-97. No GOP lawmaker voted to increase the debt limit, while 82 Democrats sided with the Republicans.
"I voted no on raising the debt ceiling," Pompeo said in a statement afterward. "No to more debt without a change in behavior. No to increasing the credit card limit when the Obama Administration has zero commitment to reducing the unsustainable rate of spending. No to business as usual in Washington, D.C."
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The vote was a continuation of the political theatrics that have dominated the Capitol Hill debate over the debt limit. Each side has offered bills purely for partisan advantage and political protection, but which have no chance of passing.
Even the White House had long since given up on the measure since it didn't call for spending cuts. They're now the political currency being traded in exchange for passage of the bill, and the focus of ongoing talks between the White House and Capitol Hill.
The government actually reached the federal borrowing limit May 16. But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he could forestall any financial fallout until Aug. 2. when the U.S., he said, will not be able to make good in full on what it owes.