House Approves Higher Debt Limit Without Condition By JONATHAN WEISMAN and ASHLEY PARKER
Feb. 11, 2014
WASHINGTON − Ending three years of brinkmanship in
which the threat of a devastating default on the nation’s debt
was used to wring conservative concessions from President
Obama, the House on Tuesday voted to raise the government’s
borrowing limit until March 2015, without any conditions.
The vote − 221 to 201 − relied almost entirely on
Democrats in the Republican-controlled House to carry the
measure and represented the first debt ceiling increase since
2009 that was not attached to other legislation. Only 28
Republicans voted yes, and only two Democrats voted no.
Simply by holding the vote, Speaker John A. Boehner of
Ohio effectively ended a three-year Tea Party-inspired era of
budget showdowns that had raised the threat of default and
government shutdowns, rattled economic confidence and
brought serious scrutiny from other nations questioning
Washington’s ability to govern. In the process, though, Mr.
Boehner also set off a series of reprisals from fellow Republican
congressmen and outside groups that showcased the party’s
deep internal divisions.
During the October 2013 government shutdown, The
Times’s David Leonhardt explained the debt limit and how a
failure to raise it could have affected the economy both at home
“He gave the president exactly what he wanted, which is
exactly what the Republican Party said we did not want,” said a
Republican representative, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who last
year unsuccessfully tried to rally enough support to derail Mr.
Boehner’s re-election as speaker. “It’s going to really demoralize
The vote was a victory for President Obama, Democrats
and those Senate Republicans who have argued that spending
money for previously incurred obligations was essential for the
financial standing of the federal government. “Tonight’s vote is a
positive step in moving away from the political brinkmanship
that’s a needless drag on our economy,” Jay Carney, the White
House press secretary, said in a statement.
“A clean debt ceiling is a complete capitulation on the
speaker’s part and demonstrates that he has lost the ability to
lead the House of Representatives, let alone his own party,” said
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. “It is
time for him to go.”
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader,
commended the speaker and promised to pass the bill as soon
as possible. “We’re happy to see the House is legislating the
way they should have legislated for a long time,” he said. (Adapted from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/us/politics/
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