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House passes bill to prioritize US debt payments

WASHINGTON – The GOP-controlled House has passed a bill to put U.S. bondholders and people on Social Security at the front of the line to be paid if the government hits its borrowing limit.

The idea behind the legislation is to lessen the consequences of a U.S. default on its debt obligations. That’s if Congress and President Obama can’t find a way to lift the government’s borrowing limit later this year, in hopes of salvaging the government’s credit rating and ability to borrow to pay its bills.

But Democrats say the legislation would guarantee a downgrade of the debt by suggesting the country would be willing to pay some of its bills but not others.

The bill passed on a near party-line vote of 221-207.

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