Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 1, 2015

Senate Votes to Send Debt Limit to Obama With Help From Republican Leaders (Updated)

Updated 4:14 p.m. | The Senate voted to send a one-year debt limit suspension to President Barack Obama’s desk Wednesday, after a high-drama cliffhanger that ended when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, voted “aye” to end a filibuster.

The Senate voted 67-31 to end a filibuster on the legislation threatened by tea party firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in a vote that took nearly an hour to complete as senators wrestled with their decision. The Senate then voted 55-43 to pass the bill with a simple majority threshold.

McConnell and Cornyn voted to cut off debate when the measure appeared stuck just short of the 60 votes needed.

A dozen Republicans voted with Democrats in all, most in a clump after McConnell and Cornyn led the way: John Barrasso of Wyoming, Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Thune of South Dakota.

Cruz forced the 60-vote threshold, putting his fellow Republicans on the hot seat as they had to choose between a filibuster — potentially leading to the nation’s first ever default and a government shutdown — and putting the issue behind them ahead of the midterm elections.

Cruz had argued Republicans should stick together to extract spending cuts from Democrats and President Barack Obama, but McConnell privately had counseled against another shutdown showdown.

Kirk said his party was sharply divided over strategy behind the scenes, including a dispute between McConnell and Cruz. He told reporters why he planned to vote to advance the debt limit bill: “I just want the orderly administration of the U.S. debt,” he said.

Cruz and outside tea party groups have ripped the party’s leadership in both chambers for caving to President Barack Obama’s demands for a clean debt limit hike. But the House voted narrowly to pass the debt limit Tuesday after Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans were unable to unite behind any alternative.

The difficulty of the vote may suggest that debt limit brinkmanship may just be on hiatus, even if it’s over for this Congress.

Once signed by the president, the debt limit will be suspended until March 2015, at which point it will be raised to whatever level of debt has been incurred. That number will likely be at least $500 billion higher given the expected size of the federal deficit.

Humberto Sanchez and Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

  • m141934a

    Here’s Cruz trying to make a name for himself! No other motive than his own super ego…narcissist!

    • trojan1972

      You say “name for himself” and I say, “Has some balls to stand up for principle”. Yea, that’s great. Give this POTUS a blank check and not expect him to spend every last cent of it and your kids, grandkids and great grandkids will pay interest on it for the rest of their lives. We can’t pay for what debts we have already incurred, let along another $1T+. How idiotic is that? They way this Congress votes, you’d think they’d won the lottery. I guess they have when you have a Fed that will add continuous zeros to our debt. They are our second largest debt holder at this point. The first is the Social Security Trust Fund. Great, huh? Yeah, figure that one out…our money held by the government that we now pay interest on due to the government borrowing from it. A government entity and a quasi government entity is the largest debt holders of the government. Sounds like a ponzi scheme to me. Nothing more than a shell game that “we the people” have our checks raided for a too large of government to live off of. Our ignorance is costing us big time.

      Just look at this graph from 2009…..almost straight up. From just over $850B to $4.076T.

  • Dantes

    Cornyn and Mcdonnell are weak and stupid. They gotta go.

  • Betsy Meier

    It was the right thing to do. Cruz is such a problem. The average voter doesn’t understand what a narcissistic obstructionist person he really is. They, meaning the tea party, use the Constitution as their guide and they really do not understand the Constitution. It’s a living document folks and wisely the Republicans who voted for the clean bill today understand that.

    • Midge

      But Cruz is for freedom and liberty and so am I.

      • Betsy Meier

        Wrong!!! He’s only for his own selfish desires. He doesn’t care about you, he just pretends like he does. He wants to do nothing more than to create havoc…and everyone is beginning to see that.

        • T.A. Conscience

          Your statements are purely subjective and most likely you’re projecting.

          • Betsy Meier

            May be so, but I’ve been involved in politics and I know that a person who is only concerned for the people doesn’t last in this game. And it is a game. Sadly I’ve seen people like Cruz and he is a narcissistic senator. Mark my words. As a person who has been involved in campaigns, elections and married to an officer holder I will tell you that it’s a well known fact that people like Cruz are very shallow and their only concern is their pocketbooks.

          • T.A. Conscience

            I’ve held public office (judge), and you’re nothing special, either. Mark my words; Cruz is just the first of many. He’s a trendsetter. Granted, he will cause you and those like you a considerable amount of consternation and full-blown angina, and you will discount his efforts. Dust in the wind. He could not care less. I could not care less. Carry on.

          • trojan1972

            Thank you. I stopped above and posted a rebuttal to Besty and just got to your comments. He’s a person of character who stands for principle over expediency. He sees beyond his nose unlike most politicians who are only looking at the next election.

            “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. Gerald Ford, Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (August 12, 1974)

            The path of least resistance makes all rivers, and some men, crooked. Napolean Hill

            Here’s a quote concerning where this country is headed and we won’t like the consequences.

            “You can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality” Ayn Rand

    • trojan1972

      If it’s a “living guide” then why have it at all if you can change it on an as needed basis? Is that the way baseball, football, basketball, soccer or any other sport is played. The rules are “living guides” and can be changed as needed according to the “losing” team? What a pile of manure. If rules aren’t rules, especially those that pertain to the very essence of our freedoms as citizens of this country, why have them? Just play the game with whatever rules you want for that minute and then change them the next minute. We’ll see how well you like this “living document” when it comes to your “free speech, freedom of religion, right to assemble, etc” when they tell you it’s a living document and the rules have changed to a “new living document”. I’m sure there’ll be no wisdom in that when it pertains to you, your life or your family’s life. Please give some thought to your phrase of convenience instead of mouthing “talking points”. And Cruz is only a “problem” because he causes you to defend your indefensible positions with cognitive thoughts and most of the left and status quo R’s have a hard time doing that. All they can do is tear down his character instead of debating the merits of his arguments. They resort to your tactics and throw out meaningless catch phrases that can’t stand upto scrutiny.

      • betsym

        Hmm, I guess it’s okay to throw garbage at Obama but heaven forbid if anyone attacks Cruz who doesn’t have any character. I could debate the merits but I’m not going to bother because you have nothing more then tunnel vision.

        • trojan1972

          Go back and read what I said and your response. I never once brought up Obama. I was talking about the Constitution and what it says vs. what you said, ie “living document”. And how do you determine if a person has character? According to the Free Merriam-Webster dictionary it states: the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. So, how can Ted Cruz not have character based upon this definition? It’s how he thinks, feels and behaves which is part of his personality. It may not resonate with you, your personality and political leanings, but it definitely doesn’t mean he has no character. He hasn’t betrayed who he is by what he’s done in the Senate. In fact, he followed through on what he said he’d do so, in essence, he’s kept his word which would mean he has character. So many in politics say one thing to get elected and then go 180 degrees from what they’ve said. That’s a lack of character. I would not say Barack Obama doesn’t have character based upon my lack of agreement with his politics. I would say he plays hard ball politics based upon what he’s done in regard to his trying to go outside of the executive branch with powers that don’t belong to him, but that’s another argument. See this quote by him from 2006 and compare it to what he’s done during his presidency.
          Pretty hypocritical I would say and does show a lack of character because he’s doing the very thing he accused George Bush of doing and we know how much he despised him. He needs to look in the mirror more often than look out the window.

          “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America ‘s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.

          It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

          Increasing America ‘s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.

          America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

          ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

  • Will James Robertson

    Who did not vote?

    • pmorton

      Chambliss and Coburn.

      • Midge


  • Tamerlando

    Crisis averted, thankfully.

  • T.A. Conscience

    Crisis averted? Till later…

  • MrSmith

    Already losing to Harry, Mitch decided to take on the Tea Party too…
    What fools run the Senate. Between them Harry and Mitch haven’t the brains of a headless chicken.

  • tpartynitwit

    Tedious Ted, The Nudnik of the North, will never miss a chance to dry hump the leg of anyone with a microphone and yell, “LOOK AT ME!”

  • Firey Hooks

    In the 1990s, a budget surplus was negotiated with a democrat President.

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