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House OKs debt-limit extension

WASHINGTON – The House has passed a bill to permit the government to borrow enough money to avoid a first avoid default for at least four months, defusing a crisis looming next month and setting the stage for a springtime debate over taxes, spending and the deficit.

The House passed the measure by a 285-144 vote, a bipartisan showing on an initiative brought by majority Republicans. The GOP is backing away from its previous demand that any increase in the government’s borrowing cap be paired with an equivalent level of spending cuts.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the chamber would immediately move to advance the legislation to the White House, which has announced that Obama would sign it.

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