House votes to raise debt ceiling with no strings attached

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
Font Size:

WASHINGTON — The House voted Tuesday to raise the nation’s borrowing limit with no strings attached — a vote that angered a number of Republicans and passed with predominately Democratic votes.

The debt ceiling increase passed 221-201, with just 28 Republicans joining 193 Democrats to vote in favor of the bill. Speaker John Boehner was one of those Republicans, taking the rare step of casting a vote; the Speaker of the House does not usually vote.

He was joined by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Reps. Ken Calvert, Dave Camp, Howard Coble, Chris Collins, Charlie Dent, Michael Fitzpatrick, Michael Grimm, Richard Hanna, Doc Hastings, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Frank LoBiondo, Buck McKeon, Patrick Meehan, Gary Miller, Devon Nunes, Dave Reichert, Hal Rogers, Peter Roskam, Ed Royce, Jon Runyan, John Shimkus, Chris Smith, David Valadao, and Frank Wolf.

Two Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in voting against the increase: Georgia Rep. John Barrow and Utah Rep. Jim Matheson.

“I voted for it because I voted for the budget, I voted for the appropriation, and that requires that I vote for the debt ceiling increase in order to spend the money that was there,” said House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.

“I would like us to have had a Republican proposal with 218 Republicans, that isn’t always the case,” he said. “That’s one of the challenges of our system.”

The debt hike did not sit well with a number of Republicans — 199 voted no.

“The president, I don’t think, should be rewarded for refusing to negotiate,” Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole told reporters after the vote.

“I’m open to a whole variety of reforms, I don’t think it has to be this or that, I’m not going to dictate it, but I’m not going to vote for a clean debt ceiling just because the President of the United States says he doesn’t want to sit down and talk about it and we just have to automatically do it, as if somehow he’s an innocent bystander to the process of the accumulation of debt around here,” Cole explained.

Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp lamented that the vote “does nothing to solve the problem.”

“We have a spending problem; it’s not a debt ceiling problem … Republicans were elected to do something about it and right now we’re turning the House floor back over to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the President of the United States, and I’m very disappointed,” he told reporters.

Some conservative groups, like Senate Conservatives Fund, have called for Boehner’s ouster in light of his decision to bring the bill to the floor.

“It’s gonna really demoralize the base,” said Huelskamp.

“He gave the president exactly what he wanted, which is exactly what the Republican Party said we did not want,” he added.

Cole, a Boehner ally, said he did not blame the Speaker for making the decision and voting the way he did.

“If you’re gonna negotiate, you have to somebody to negotiate with,” he said. “And look I think the Speaker took a very tough vote here.”

As for members who took that vote as well, Cole said, “I think honestly they deserve the red badge of courage or something like that. They took a big hit for the team.”

Huelskamp had a less favorable view of things: “The ones that vote yes … they might have a primary over this.”

The bill now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Rachel Stoltzfoos contributed to this report.

Follow Alexis on Twitter