Obama signs increase in U.S. debt ceiling

U.S. President Obama speaks before signing an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers, at the White HouseBy Steve Holland RANCHO MIRAGE, California (Reuters) – President Barack Obama signed legislation on Saturday that raises the U.S. debt limit through March 2015, taking the politically volatile issue off the table with congressional elections coming up this November. Without an increase in the statutory debt limit, the U.S. government would have soon defaulted on some of its obligations and would have had to shut down some programs, an historic event that would have caused severe market turmoil. On a long holiday weekend in a desert resort area in southern California, Obama put his signature on the legislation without fanfare, while behind closed doors at the Sunnylands retreat. It was a quiet end to the latest chapter in what has been one of the more challenging aspects of his presidency, as he and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly sparred with Republicans over increasing the country’s borrowing authority.

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