Image source: flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Republicans have discarded a bill to raise the US debt limit, in what forecasters describe as a bid to force government spending cuts. The chamber voted 318-97 against the bill, rejecting a call by President Barack Obama to raise the debt limit without conditions. Republicans have called for spending cuts in return for a debt increase. The US treasury department has warned the US risks default if Congress does not permit more borrowing by August.

Some Democrats who supported Mr Obama’s position also voted against the bill after Democratic leaders condemn the bill as a Republican political trick, noting Republican leaders brought the bill to a vote, then directed their caucus to vote against it.

Republicans leaders have not specified they will eventually refuse to grant a debt limit increase, but say the US must bring government spending in line with tax revenue. The US national debt is $14.3 trillion, and the annual budget deficit is roughly $1.5 trillion . Leaders of both parties agree to the need to orderly the budget, but Republicans have refused to allow tax increases, while Democrats have sworn to protect costly social programs.