The Republican-led House has rejected a Senate Democratic bill that would slash spending and avert a federal government default.
The vote was 246-173. It was a pre-emptive vote in the high-stakes political fight as the Senate still hasn't voted on the measure from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The measure would raise the debt limit by $2.4 trillion while cutting spending by $2.2 trillion.
The vote could set the stage for negotiations on a compromise just three days before the Treasury says it will be unable to pay all the nation's bills.
Debate on the measure was often testy and reflected the growing frustration among lawmakers. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi pleaded for an end to "this theater of the absurd" and said "it's time for us to get real."