House Democrats are pushing legislation to repeal the federal debt ceiling, saying the borrowing limit has no practical purpose and has come to be used for political maneuvering that can have devastating economic repercussions.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the debt ceiling is arbitrary, doesn't affect the deficit and has become a Republican means to "blackmail" the country to advance the GOP's political agenda.
President Barack Obama earlier this week said he would not negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling, saying talks on spending cuts should be separate from raising the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling and averting a possible first-ever national default.
The debt ceiling has been in place since 1939. The Treasury says it will run out of borrowing power in mid-February to early March.