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WASHINGTON

Rep. John Katko votes against raising debt ceiling

Virus Outbreak Congress

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., speaks during a House Committee on Homeland Security meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington July 22, 2020.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to raise the debt ceiling, but there was opposition to the $480 billion temporary extension. 

U.S. Rep. John Katko joined fellow Republicans in voting against the debt limit increase. It passed along party lines, 219-206. 

Katko, R-Camillus, has voted for debt ceiling increases before but disagreed with how the Democrats presented the measure. Instead of considering the debt limit hike as a standalone bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote on a resolution to set the rules for debating three unrelated bills. Extending the debt limit was included as a provision in the resolution. 

By tucking the language in the resolution, Republicans argue it prevented debate on the matter. Katko described it as a "procedural shortcut" that meant the debt ceiling would not be considered as a standalone bill. 

"Congress has a responsibility to fund the government and ensure our nation's financial obligations are met," he said. "Last night, Congress should have engaged in a serious, bipartisan and long-overdue debate on the future of federal spending and the national debt." 

With passage in the House, the debt ceiling measure goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The Senate passed the legislation last week along party lines. 

The congressional action delays a long-term solution to the debt ceiling problem. The Treasury said Congress needed to act by Oct. 18 or the federal government would run out of money. 

The debt limit has been extended to Dec. 3. 

Republicans have been reluctant to partner with the Democrats on a debt limit hike, in part, because of ongoing discussions about a multi-trillion dollar package that contains many of Biden's legislative priorities, from expanding Medicare to establishing a national paid leave program. There have been disagreements among Democrats on how to proceed with that legislation. Those disagreements are also preventing the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure deal that has already cleared the Senate but is awaiting House consideration. 

In less than two months, Democrats — who control both houses of Congress and the White House — will need to figure out how to advance their legislative agenda and address the debt limit to avoid a fiscal crisis at the end of the year. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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