The Senate narrowly voted to advance — and, eventually, pass — theHouse of Representatives-passed debt-ceiling increase, after Democrats spent a long time on the floor trying to wrangle more Republican votes.
In the end, the measure cleared rather easily, 67-31. The vote on final passage was 55-43. The legislation suspends the debt ceiling through March 15, 2015.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) voted to break a potential filibuster on the bill, leading to final passage. 10 other Republicans ended up joining them.
The Senate vote started at 1:56 p.m. ET. More than 40 minutes later, only three Republicans had supported the legislation. It needed 60 “aye” votes to advance to a final vote. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tweeted her frustration during the vote:
Only 3 Rs so far willing to avoid the default of America on its obligations. Need 2 more. Sad it is this hard.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) February 12, 2014
The cloture vote ended about an hour after it started.
McConnell and Cornyn, the two highest-ranking Senate Republicans, followed the lead of House Republican leadership in providing the votes needed to advance the bill. Both McConnell and Cornyn face primary challenges this spring, and the procedural votes will almost certainly be fodder in the campaigns.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) demanded a 60-vote threshold to advance the bill, and had urged Republicans to stick together to block its passage.
The bill now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law.
You can see Republicans conferring on the floor in the middle of the cloture vote here:
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