House Approves Bill To
Raise Federal Debt Limit

By Bill Chappell | NPR.org | August 1, 2011

The House of Representatives has approved legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling and prevent a possible U.S. default, as the nation moves toward ending a bitter standoff.

The bill passed by a vote of 269 to 161; it required only a simple majority to pass.

A loud round of applause broke out on the House floor as the votes came in apparently prompted by the sudden appearance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who voted in favor of the bill.

The House last week approved Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the U.S. government's debt ceiling by a vote of 218 to 210. The Senate rejected that plan. The White House and congressional leaders agreed on a new plan late Sunday.

The bill now moves to the Senate, which isn't likely to vote on the measure until Tuesday, according to reports. Senate party leaders who negotiated the deal with the White House seem to have the votes to approve it, but there are also procedural hurdles that must be taken into account.

Here are the essential details of the plan:

Moments before the final vote on the bill, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to support it, despite admitting that she didn't like the bill's lack of revenue increases.

And Boehner urged his fellow Republicans to vote for the deal as well, saying earlier Monday that the legislation is a way to "solve this debt crisis and help get the American people back to work."