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House GOP preparing for debt showdown this summer

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:31 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:33 a.m. CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are preparing for another showdown over the debt ceiling this summer.

The House Ways and Means Committee passed a bill Wednesday to protect Social Security recipients and investors in Treasury bonds if the government hits the limit of its borrowing authority.

The bill would exempt interest and principal payments on Treasury bonds from the statutory debt limit. It would also exempt interest payments to the Social Security trust funds.

Republicans say the bill would avoid a default. Democrats say it prioritizes payments to foreign investors over funding important domestic programs.

In January, Congress suspended the government's borrowing limit until May 18, though Treasury officials are expected to take actions to delay a default until later this summer, perhaps in August.

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