(CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR) The House returns this week to a vote on a resolution to reject President Obama’s request to raise the national debt limit, now 15.24 trillion, by $1.2 trillion – the final element of a debt ceiling agreement that Congress approved on Aug. 1.

At first glance, Wednesday’s vote would seem to reopen the most toxic debate of this Congress, which took the nation to the brink of the first-ever default on the national debt last summer.

But, by design, Wednesday’s vote will be more theatrical than practical. Even if the House votes, as expected, to reject the president’s request, the measure still has to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and avoid a presidential veto – both highly unlikely outcomes. The special treatment of the issue was part of the political compromise last summer that prevented default while allowing the president to raise the debt limit and allowed Republicans to disapprove.

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