Although Congress voted last summer to raise the debt ceiling, House leaders wanted to put President Obama’s request to raise the federal debt limit by $1.2 trillion to another test.

In a largely party line -and symbolic- move,  the House voted 239-176 against raising the amount of money the federal government can borrow. f Connecticut’s five Democratic House members voted unanimously to support the president’s request.

“The reason the Republicans are bringing this up is a face-saver for their hard line people,  who make the wrong association between national debt and paying what you already owe,” said Rep. John Larson, D-1st District. “That’s why we believe this is a fraudulent issue..”

But House Republicans, who are chafing at the bipartisan deal last August that gave Obama authority to lift the debt ceiling several times, said Wednesday’s vote was necessary.

“Instead of giving the president more power to spend money we do not have, Congress should work together to find ways to cut spending and put America back on a path to fiscal responsibility,” said Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called the vote an exercise in “juvenile behavior.”

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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