WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Senate on Wednesday passed a no-strings-attached debt limit increase, sending the bill to President Barack Obama’s desk.
The Senate approved the measure by a near party-line 55-43 vote. All of the “aye” votes came from Obama’s Democratic allies.
But the vote to pass the measure was anticlimactic after a dramatic 67-31 tally – held open for more than an hour – in which the measure cleared a filibuster hurdle insisted on by tea party Republican Ted Cruz of Texas.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas answers reporters questions after speaking about energy, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, at the Heritage Action for America 2014 Conservative Policy Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Some Republicans seemed annoyed that Cruz insisted on forcing some Republicans to vote with Democrats in order to clear a 60-vote threshold and advance the debt limit bill for final passage.
"I'm not going to talk about that," said Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, when asked if Republicans are annoyed with Cruz.
The Senate’s top two Republicans – both facing tea party challenges in their GOP primaries this year – provided crucial momentum after a group of Republicans were clearly reluctant to walk the plank. Several other Republicans then switched their votes in solidarity.
According to Senate.gov, the Republican senators who voted in favor of the motion to invoke cloture, and therefore advance the bill, are:
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Sen. Mike Johanns (Neb.)
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) did not vote. To see who voted with Cruz, visit the Senate website here.
However, the GOP senators who voted in favor of advancing the bill, thus rejecting Cruz's strategy, later voted against actually raising the debt ceiling as no Republicans voted with Democrats. The final vote was 55-43 with Chambliss and Coburn again abstaining.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from his office to the floor of the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The measure would permit the Treasury Department to borrow normally for another 13 months and then reset the government's borrowing cap, currently set at $17.2 trillion, after that.
Quick action on the debt limit bill stands in contrast to lengthy showdowns in 2012 and last fall when Republicans sought to use the critically necessary measure as leverage to win concessions from Obama. They succeeded in 2011, winning about $2 trillion in spending cuts, but Obama has been unwilling to negotiate over the debt limit since his re-election, and Wednesday's legislation is the third consecutive debt measure passed without White House concessions.
This story will be updated with a breakdown of how each senator voted, both for the debt limit increase and the vote to advance the bill.