The U.S. Senate passed the debt deal just after noon Tuesday, avoiding a government default that was less than 12 hours away.
Both Democrats and Republicans fell in line behind the hotly contested bill in the face of economic catastrophe, passing it on a vote of 74 to 26. Of the “yea” votes, 45 were Democrats and 28 were Republicans. Votes against the bill included 19 Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent, Bernie Sanders. President Obama then quickly signed the bill into law.
The measure will give the government $400 billion in immediate borrowing authority to pay its bills and avoid default. —BF
The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill will be quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.
Indeed, the stakes were far larger than the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt ceiling fight captured all the power—and critics would say extreme risk-taking—of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections.
“It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell minutes before the vote. “But, in fact, the opposite was true. The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty. … It was a debate that Washington needed to have.”