'Clean' debt limit bill passes House
A standalone debt limit extension was passed by the House on Tuesday, after Republicans abandoned their effort to garner policy concessions in exchange for their support. Democrats praised the 221-201 vote. GOP leaders originally set the vote for a debt limit extension until March 2015 for Wednesday but moved the vote up to Tuesday evening because of an impending snowstorm expected to hit the East Coast beginning late today. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he expected the Senate would be able to clear the House-passed debt limit increase (S 540) today. “We’ll have to see. The weather is creating some problems. Should be able to,” Reid said. However, Texas Republican Ted Cruz said on Tuesday that he would demand a 60-vote threshold for the bill (S 540), and several other GOP lawmakers said they also would reject a motion to move the extension more easily through the chamber with a simple majority vote. If the Senate cannot get to a vote this week it will have to vote the week of Feb. 24, close to the point where Treasury says it will exhaust those extraordinary measures.