The Senate has voted to extend the federal debt limit, giving final congressional approval to a bill that is meant to cover the government's finances into 2015. The measure passed on a 55-43 vote.
But the most dramatic phase of the legislation's passage came just before the final tally, when it had to get past a cloture vote. Politico says, "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) demanded the 60-vote threshold on the debt hike."
As The Hill reports:
"The 67-31 cloture vote took more Senate time than usual, highlighting the arm-twisting going on behind closed doors, as few Republicans wanted to be seen as casting the deciding vote for the bill. It wasn't gaveled closed until more than an hour after it began."
With their 55 votes backing the measure, the Democrats needed five Republicans to join them. And as happened in the House yesterday, when Speaker John Boehner voted in favor, the chamber's GOP leadership was forced to take action.
"Ultimately, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) — both of whom are up for reelection this year and face primary challengers — voted to advance the debt hike measure."
Wednesday's Senate approval comes one day after the House gave its reluctant embrace to the legislation. Republicans in that chamber had hoped to tie military pension requirements to the debt bill, but they gave up that quest. A similar measure regarding the pensions remains active in the Senate.