The House of Representatives have voted and passed the debt ceiling bill, raising the debt limit $2.4 Trillion dollars. After months of negotiations, committees and multiple plans, the final deal is done and in the bag. The vote to approve increasing the debt ceiling was bipartisan, with 174 votes by Republicans and 54 votes from Democrats. The bill will now be voted on in the Senate, where it is expected to pass. Throughout the day, factions in both parties, Conservatives and Tea Party Republicans, as well as Progressive Democrats, threatened to vote no. Plenty followed through on their threats, including Michele Bachmann, who is running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. But thanks to the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner, who proved to be the adult during this whole process, the bill passed with room to spare. One high point during the vote was the return of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who arrived to vote. She was given a standing ovation by all.
This entire exercise could have been avoided last year had Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi not decided to play politics with raising the debt limit. After they passed the largest ever increase of $1.9 Trillion dollars in February 2010, everybody knew that the well would run dry early in 2011. With majorities in both wings of Congress, and control of the White House, the Democrats and the Obama administration could have gotten anything they wanted passed without much trouble.
But, instead, they decided to put off any vote until the Republicans took control of the House following the election results of November, 2010. Obama and the Democrats wanted to stain the Republicans hands with their red ink. Even if no debt limit increase deal could be reached, Obama hoped to use it as a political football to bash Republicans with threats of defaults, withholding Social Security checks and government shutdown, just as Bill Clinton did in 1995.
But the House did indeed pass the increase to the debt ceiling bill 269 to 161. Only 66 Republicans voted against it, as well as 95 Democrats. The bill now goes to the Senate for passage and then on to the White House for Barack Obama to sign. The debt limit bill is the last business of this session of Congress, which will now begin its August vacation break. Obama himself will be leaving Washington fro Martha′s Vineyard for his vacation next week. Perhaps the most human moment in all of this was the arrival of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on the floor of Congress to cast her vote. She received a standing ovation from the entire body.