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Senate Democrats Back Automatic Debt Ceiling Hikes

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks at a press conference after successfully pushing a bipartisan bill through the U.S. Senate to restart the government and raise the debt limit at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. The bill still needs to be approved by the house. If the bill is signed into law, it will fund the government until January 15, 2014 and allow the government to pay bills until February 7, 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) | Getty

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the Senate want to avoid future showdowns over the so-called debt ceiling. They are proposing to give the president authority to authorize additional federal borrowing unless Congress can muster veto-proof margins to block him.

The move by Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and others drew immediate opposition from the chamber's top Republican and is a non-starter with the GOP-controlled House.

The idea is to prevent future battles over increasing the nation's borrowing cap. Debt limit battles this fall and in 2011 spooked financial markets and took the government precariously close to a default on its obligations.

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