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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives voted to reject a $1.2 trillion increase in the federal debt limit on Wednesday in a largely symbolic vote aimed at staking out election-year positions on government spending.

The House voted 239 to 176 along party lines in favor of a "resolution of disapproval" against the increase sought by President Barack Obama, but the the winning tally was far short of the number needed to override an Obama veto.

Lawmakers had given Obama the authority to raise the debt limit last August as part of budget control legislation that ended a dramatic impasse over the borrowing cap that brought the United States to the brink of default and cost it its coveted top-tier credit rating.

(Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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