The Senate has approved and sent President Obama a "clean" debt limit bill, allowing the federal government to borrow money. The tactic by the GOP to pass the clean bill is criticized by non-Washington conservatives but allows most Republican lawmakers to vote against it. In the meantime, the Senate also passes House-approved legislation to extend Medicare cuts to restore some retiree benefits for veterans.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Senate Clears Debt Limit Measure For Obama
The president is now clear to sign the bill, which allows the government to borrow all the money it needs to pay bills such as Social Security benefits, federal salaries, and payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers. Failure to pass it would have likely sent the stock market -- which dipped modestly as the voting dragged on -- into a tailspin (2/12).
The Wall Street Journal: Boehner Strategy Signals A Shift For Republicans
Conservative and tea-party groups outside Congress were incensed by the move, orchestrated by Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. But GOP lawmakers defended the strategy, which enabled Mr. Labrador and 198 other Republicans to oppose the debt-ceiling bill -- it passed with the votes of Mr. Boehner, 27 other Republicans and 193 Democrats -- and clear the way for them to try to redirect attention to the president's health care law (Peterson and Hook, 2/12).
The Washington Post: Senate Votes To Restore Benefits To Veterans
Senators voted 95 to 3 Wednesday to restore military retiree benefits cut last year as part of a compromise budget deal, adopting a House bill that covers the move by extending reductions to Medicare (Lowrey, 2/12).