In a close vote, the House of Representatives has passed a “clean” suspension of the nation’s debt limit through March 15, 2015.
The final tally was 221-201, with Democrats carrying the vote. 20-eight Republicans joined 193 Democrats in voting for the measure. Meanwhile, 199 Republicans and two Democrats voted against it.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) cast a rare vote in favour of the legislation. In a surprising vote against leadership, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) voted “no.”
The legislation now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it is expected to pass within coming days. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has signaled that he plans to push a 60-vote threshold to pass the measure, meaning the measure will need to have some Republican support to pass.
The developments that led to Tuesday night’s passage came flowed rather quickly. House Republicans moved past a plan early Tuesday to tie a debt-ceiling increase to a restoration of military pension benefits when leadership determined that it did not have enough support.
The predictable “clean” solution brings to an end a debate that mostly existed within the Republican conference this time. House Republicans came out of their annual retreat pushing a strategy with such options as repealing an Affordable Care Act provision or Keystone XL Pipeline approval in exchange for a debt-ceiling hike. Neither of those options, however, gained enough support within the Republican caucus.
Republicans’ last two options included the possibility of attaching a Medicare “doc fix” and/or the military pension restoration to the debt-ceiling legislation. In the end, Republican leaders determined that they couldn’t garner enough support for either of those two options.
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