WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives has approved a measure allowing the U.S. government to borrow $1.9 trillion to pay its bills.
The measure would raise the so-called debt limit to $14.3 trillion - more than $45,000 for every person living in the United States.
Democrats provided every "yes" vote in the 217-212 tally just as Republicans had to supply votes when they controlled Congress and the White House.
The massive increase in the debt is required because the government now has to borrow more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends because the recession has caused a slump in revenues at the same time spending has spiked.
Passage of the bill would send it to President Barack Obama, who will sign it to avoid a first-ever, market-rattling default on U.S. obligations.