WASHINGTON — With less than two weeks until the federal government is expected to reach its borrowing limit, House Republican leaders are readying a vote on legislation intended to avoid a financial meltdown should that ceiling be reached.

The House Rules Committee said Friday it will take up the Default Prevention Act once Congress returns to business next week, meaning the bill could hit the House floor as soon as Wednesday.

The Default Prevention Act, which was advanced by the Ways and Means Committee last month, would allow the federal government to keep borrowing above the statutory debt limit for the sole purpose of paying principal and interest on debt held by the public or the Social Security Trust Fund.

In other words: If Congress fails to raise the debt limit, holders of Treasury bonds would still be paid and Social Security recipients would still get their checks.