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The White House warned congressional Republicans Wednesday not to undermine “the full faith and credit” of the United States, as lawmakers tied raising the U.S. debt limit to federal spending concessions.

Republicans, who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday after winning big against President Obama’s Democrats in November elections, say they will only agree to lifting the $14.3 trillion limit on federal borrowing in return for spending concessions.

The debt limit was last increased in February, and the Treasury expects to bump up against that existing threshold in the first or second quarter of 2011, unless it is lifted.

“It’s important for Congress … not to play politics with this, not to play games; to find a way to raise that debt limit, understanding that we have to … take some serious steps to get our fiscal house in order,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at a news briefing.

U.S. debt and the deficit jumped as the government rushed to aid ailing banks and U.S. auto companies during the crisis, which inflicted the deepest U.S. recession since the 1930s’ Great Depression, further crimping revenue from taxes.

Some analysts worry the additional borrowing by the U.S. government that this has caused will at some point undermine investor confidence in the dollar, forcing up long-term U.S. borrowing costs and in turn hobbling growth.