Symbolic Debt Ceiling Vote Fails in the House

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As expected, House lawmakers rejected a measure, Tuesday, to raise America's debt limit by $2.4 trillion.

The vote was lopsided, with just 97 in favor of the measure and 318 against.

Republicans used Tuesday's "show vote" to pressure President Barack Obama to agree to deep spending cuts.  GOP lawmakers wanted to prove there was little House support for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without addressing the budget deficit with spending cuts.

"Tonight's vote shows the House is listening to the American people," House Speaker John Boehner said.  "The Obama Administration and congressional Democrats have repeatedly asked for a debt limit hike without any spending cuts and budget reforms, and the American people simply will not tolerate it."

Click play for analysis from Seton Motley, president of the group Less Government.

Democrats accused Republicans of pulling a "political charade" to drawing attention away from other issues.

"[This was a] ploy so egregious that [they] have had to spend the last week pleading with Wall Street not to take it seriously and risk our economic recovery," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.

Tuesday's vote was held after the stock market closed. The GOP wanted to avoid a repeat of September 2008 when lawmakers' rejection of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout set off the largest one-day drop in stock prices in U.S. history.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the U.S. has until Aug. 2 to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.  He added that failing to act would have "catastrophic" consequences.
   
President Obama is scheduled to meet with House Republicans Wednesday to discuss budget negotiations.

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