Obama Stares Down Republicans and Wins as House Passes Clean Debt Limit Bill, 221-201

By Jason Eastley
February 11, 2014


President Obama has officially broken the backs of the Republican hostage takers as the House passed a clean suspension of the debt limit by a vote of 221-201.

The votes to pass the bill were once again delivered by Nancy Pelosi. 193 Democrats voted yes along with 28 Republicans. 199 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted no.

In a statement before the vote, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the clean debt ceiling bill was the House’s constitutional duty, “The Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution declares that ‘the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.’ That has always been the standard upheld and advocated by House Democrats. In each of my conversations with Speaker Boehner, I conveyed the support of the Democratic Caucus for a clean bill to lift the debt ceiling. Now, we have been informed that the Republican leadership will bring such legislation to the floor tomorrow. This action is consistent with the intent of our Constitution and with the best interests of the American people.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) falsely blamed the stimulus for the size of the debt. He also accused Democrats of refusing to engage and wanting to lead the country to a default. House GOP’s hostage taking games are the same as wanting to lead the country to default. It is interesting to see that House Republicans are trying to sell this total cave as a heroic move on their part to head off a Democratic plan to lead the country to default.

In reality, the House Republican leadership made the decision to give up on the hostage taking that has done nothing but harm their party. Conservative groups are livid, and are mounting a campaign to overthrow Speaker Boehner, but the truth is that this battle was lost long ago.

The president learned from the battle over extending the Bush tax cuts that Republicans were going to keep taking hostages, and never negotiate in good faith. After that debacle, the White House changed tactics. They stood firm. The policy became that Republicans would not get a reward for doing their jobs. The president and Senate Democrats stood firm. The result was that time after time House Republicans took the country to the brink of crisis, but caved in the end.

Republicans finally learned their lesson when the president didn’t budge an inch during the government shutdown. The House GOP tried to take Obamacare as a hostage, only to give it all up after the government shutdown nearly devastated their party.

Instead of bullying the president, House Republicans are now acting like they are afraid of the political consequences of getting into a showdown with him. The Obama that they heard so much about on Fox News wasn’t the same stubborn president with the steel resolve that they have been trying to ransom for the last few years.

This vote on the debt ceiling was President Obama’s crowning victory. It took years, but John Boehner finally understands that provoking a fiscal crisis will get him nowhere with this president.

The House Republican tactic of hostage taking has finally been defeated.