Debt Limit Increase Passes After Cruz Filibuster
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Legislation to allow the government to borrow money to pay its bills has cleared Congress for President Barack Obama's signature.
The Senate approved the measure Wednesday 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 - which took more than an hour - in which the measure cleared a filibuster hurdle insisted on by tea party Republican Ted Cruz of Texas.
The Senate's top two Republicans, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn, both facing tea party challenges in their GOP primaries this year, provided crucial momentum on the cloture vote after a group of Republicans were clearly reluctant to walk the plank. Several other Republicans then switched their votes in solidarity.
Sen. Cruz sat with eyes glued to his mobile device as his Republican leaders on the Senate floor allowed the final vote on the bill, which could expose them to criticism from their primary challengers on the debt limit, especially after their pronouncements about the need for spending cuts.