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House suspends debt ceiling, adopts ‘No Budget, No Pay’ billTell North Platte what you think

The House of Representatives generally agreed on something Wednesday – to borrow more money.

The House passed a Republican plan to allow the federal government to suspend the debt ceiling and keep borrowing money through mid-May.

The debt limit suspension is expected to pass the Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama, according to Reuter’s news service.

The vote was 285-144.

The bill also requires Congress to pass a formal budget resolution by April 15, a once-standard practice that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Under the bill, if either the House or Senate fails to meet the deadline, lawmakers' pay is suspended until they pass a budget.

It’s called the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013."

Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska said it’s about time.

“Passing a budget is among the most basic functions of government, yet the Senate has not fulfilled this responsibility in nearly four years," Smith said.

The conservative group Americans for Limited Goverment said suspension of the debt ceiling is dangerous to our system of government.

"The only say whatsoever representatives had on the some 60 percent of the $3.7 trillion (federal) budget that operates on autopilot, which includes Social Security, Medicare, and other forms of so-called 'mandatory' spending, was the periodic vote on increasing the debt ceiling," an ALG statement said.

"Now that it has been suspended, the debt ceiling may never be reinstated. All the Senate needs to do now come May 19 is again threaten default should the debt ceiling suspension not be indefinitely extended. Under those circumstances, House Republican leadership is likely to fold under even the slightest pressure."

This report was updated Thursday.

Smith spoke on the floor of the House Wednesday in support of the bill. At the time, Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska was presiding over the House proceedings. A video of Smith's minute-long statement is at the lower right of the Bulletin's front page.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/23/2013
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