Republican leaders in Senate kill Ted Cruz’s filibuster of debt-limit bill

It isn’t often that even a handful of Senate Republicans act like grown-ups, but we saw an exception Wednesday when a full dozen of them rebuffed an effort by Ted Cruz of Texas to block an up-or-down vote on raising the federal debt ceiling for a year. HERE are the details: It was a moment of real drama in a chamber known for its somnambulism. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, counted votes on his hand, at one point holding up three fingers as he searched for the remaining votes. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, his No. 2, paced the Senate floor. What happened next would determine whether their party would again be blamed for triggering a crisis. But when it was clear they had no choice, the two Republicans, who face primary challenges in the November midterm elections, stepped forward in tandem on Wednesday to break their party’s filibuster. In a nearby cloakroom, an animated Senator John McCain of Arizona pleaded with fellow Republicans to support their leaders, while others directed ire at Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who prompted the showdown, and at one point stood alone as his colleagues gathered in a tight circle to weigh their options. Eventually, others followed the leaders — 12 Republicans in all — and the potential catastrophe was no...

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It looks like congressional Republicans might surrender on the debt-ceiling issue

At long last, some of THESE GUYS seem to recognize a potential political disaster when they see one: Republicans are looking for ways to defuse the fight they’ve threatened to pick over the debt ceiling, having concluded that they’re likely destined for defeat. The fatalism reflects the fact that House GOP leaders are boxed in both by Democrats who’ll refuse to vote for a debt limit hike with policy add-ons, and by a significant faction of conservatives who aren’t interested in voting for any increase in the federal borrowing limit. “We don’t want to have a government crisis. That’s one of the reasons why we had a budget agreement, which prevented two possible shutdowns from occurring this year,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Tuesday night on CBS News. After taking some shots at President Barack Obama, he signaled that Republicans won’t follow through with the fight. “We will not default,” Ryan said. “I will not — no. I don’t think the full [faith and credit of the United States] — no, it will not be in jeopardy again.” Republican lawmakers and top aides surveyed by TPM this week showed little or no confidence that they can win such a battle. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) realizes he probably cannot secure enough votes to pass any debt limit bill out of the House with policy conditions attached. And if by some miracle he does, he’ll then have to deal with a Democratic-led Senate and White House who are refusing to negotiate over the issue, and used the same stance to force the GOP to pass two debt limit extensions last year without any policy reforms. “I don’t think Republicans want to default on our debt. Secondly, the president’s made clear he doesn’t want to negotiate,” Boehner said on Tuesday. “And so the options available continue to be narrower in terms of how we address the issue of the debt ceiling, but I’m confident we’ll be able to find a...

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Make no mistake about it: It was the Democrats and Obama who reopened the government

Let’s be clear about this: If it had been left up entirely to Republicans in the House and Senate, the federal government would be still be shut down, and the United States likely would now find itself in default on its debts. Granted, the resolution at issue passed the Senate by a wide margin, 81-18, with most Republicans voting in favor. But in the House, only 87 Republicans supported the compromise, while 144 opposed it. Not a single Democrat in either House voted against the measure, and it was a Democratic president who signed it into law.        ...

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Poll: Most Americans concerned about debt ceiling, but two-thirds of Tea Partiers say it’s no big deal

THESE FOLKS truly are different from normal people: As the United States moves closer to the debt ceiling, a poll released Tuesday found the vast majority of tea party Republicans don’t think the looming deadline is all that significant. The latest findings from Pew Research Center showed that while a slight majority of all Americans — 51 percent — believe that it is “absolutely essential” for Congress to raise the debt limit before the Thursday deadline, 69 percent of tea partiers said the U.S. “can go past the deadline…without major economic problems.” Thirty-six percent of all Americans believe that the U.S. can safely go past the deadline, while just 23 percent of the tea party said it’s essential to raise the debt ceiling. An overwhelming majority of 67 percent of Democrats called raising the debt ceiling essential, while 52 percent of Republicans said that the deadline could pass without triggering economic problems. Although economists across the board have warned that failure to raise the debt limit could cause the U.S. to default and trigger global turmoil, a group of Republicans on Capitol Hill has been dismissive of the risk. Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) even suggested last week that the Affordable Care Act represents a greater risk to the American economy than...

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Poll: Americans of all political stripes — except for Tea Partiers — see disaster if debt ceiling isn’t raised

It’s my understanding that additional results of THIS POLL will be released later tonight show and will show that Americans generally find much more fault with Republicans than Democrats for the government shutdown: With House Republicans set to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss raising the debt limit and ending the government shutdown, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 63 percent of Americans believe refusing to raise the debt ceiling would be a real and serious problem. Andrea Mitchell talks to Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. James Clyburn about the recent developments to avoid debt default while still keeping the government shutdown. That’s up from the 55 percent who said this in July 2011, during the last political fight over raising the debt ceiling. That opinion might explain why House Republicans have proposed temporarily raising the debt limit — though not ending the government shutdown — when they meet with the president at the White House. But there is a partisan divide here: 72 percent of Democrats believe not raising the debt ceiling would be a real and serious problem, versus 57 percent of Republicans and independents who think this. And there’s also a significant split inside the Republican Party: Among Republicans not supporting the Tea Party, 71 percent say not raising the debt ceiling would be a serious problem. But only 44 percent of Republicans who are Tea Party supporters agree....

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