NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

U.S. Senate breaks Ted Cruz’s filibuster, joins House in voting to pay nation’s bills into 2015

Well, that was fast.

Less than a day after the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed to give the Depart­ment of the Trea­sury the author­i­ty to con­tin­ue pay­ing the nation’s bills into March 2015, the Sen­ate fol­lowed suit, in the process break­ing a fil­i­buster staged by Tea Par­ty dar­ling Ted Cruz of Texas, who is upset that Repub­li­cans aren’t using the threat of default to wring pol­i­cy con­ces­sions out of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

The vote to invoke clo­ture was six­ty-sev­en to thir­ty-one, and the vote on final pas­sage was fifty-five to forty-three.

The roll call on clo­ture from the Pacif­ic North­west was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Democ­rats Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray (WA); Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR); Mark Begich (AK); Jon Tester and John Walsh (MT); Repub­li­can Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­cans Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID)

On final pas­sage, the roll call broke down along par­ty lines, as it did for the whole Sen­ate, with Lisa Murkows­ki of Alas­ka join­ing Jim Risch and Mike Crapo in vot­ing no. Two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors — Sax­by Cham­b­liss of Geor­gia and Tom Coburn of Okla­homa — did not par­tic­i­pate in either vote.

Aside from Murkows­ki, the oth­er Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to invoke clo­ture were Mitch McConnell of Ken­tucky, Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Cork­er of Ten­nessee, John Cornyn of Texas, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Ari­zona, Mike Johanns of Nebras­ka, John Thune of South Dako­ta, and Mark Kirk of Illi­nois.

Ini­tial­ly, it looked like Cruz’s fil­i­buster would not be bro­ken, as not enough Repub­li­cans were sid­ing with Democ­rats to over­come the unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic six­ty-vote thresh­old. Reluc­tant­ly, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn stepped in to break the fil­i­buster, bring­ing sev­er­al Repub­li­cans along with them.

They then with­held their votes on final pas­sage and the leg­is­la­tion passed sole­ly with Demo­c­ra­t­ic and inde­pen­dent votes. It now heads to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

The White House has yet to com­ment on the Sen­ate vote but we’ll update this post when they do. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to wor­ry about the Unit­ed States default­ing lat­er this month. But Con­gress still needs to abol­ish the debt repay­ment ceil­ing. If they make appro­pri­a­tions, Trea­sury needs to be able to pay those bills. Oth­er­wise no one will have con­fi­dence in our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

UPDATE: Pres­i­dent Oba­ma him­self has com­ment­ed on the vote:

I’m pleased that Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats in Con­gress have come togeth­er to pay for what they’ve already spent, and remove the threat of default from our econ­o­my once and for all.

The full faith and cred­it of the Unit­ed States is too impor­tant to use as lever­age or a tool for extor­tion.

Hope­ful­ly, this puts an end to pol­i­tics by brinks­man­ship and allows us to move for­ward to do more to cre­ate good jobs and strength­en the econ­o­my. Instead of wast­ing time cre­at­ing new crises, Con­gress should be focused on cre­at­ing new jobs and oppor­tu­ni­ties.

That’s what the Amer­i­can peo­ple deserve from their rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Wash­ing­ton [D.C.], and that’s what they should get.

Well said, Mr. Pres­i­dent. Well said.

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