The House of Representatives on Wednesday narrowly voted to raise the nation's debt limit by $290 billion, enough to cover the government's financing needs for another two months.
The House voted 218 to 214 to raise the debt limit to $12.394 trillion. The Senate expects to vote before the Treasury Department reaches its current limit of $12.1 trillion, according to an aide.
Democratic leaders struggled to round up the 218 votes needed for passage amid increasing public concern about stubborn budget deficits. No Republicans voted for it.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Congress had no choice but to raise the limit to avoid a catastrophic default that would rattle financial markets.
It is not about pointing fingers, it is about taking responsibility, Hoyer said.
But there was plenty of finger-pointing on the House floor as Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the country's spiraling debt, which has more than doubled since 2001 thanks to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a deep recession, and tax cuts.
The increase is a license to keep spending like a teenager with a credit card, Republican Representative Ginny Brown-Waite said.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan, Editing by Eric Walsh)