House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, bowed to political reality on Tuesday and allowed a vote on a debt ceiling increase with no conditions attached despite strong resistance from the GOP rank and file and outside conservative forces.
The 'clean' debt measure suspends the nation's borrowing limit through March 15, 2015, and relied heavily on Democratic support to get it passed. The bill was approved, 221-201, with 193 Democrats and 28 Republicans voting to pass it.
In the weeks leading up to the vote, House Republican leaders floated a number of conditions to link to the debt vote, but nothing could garner enough support to pass with GOP votes alone.
"When you don't have 218 votes, you have nothing," Boehner told reporters on Tuesday. The final proposal GOP leaders floated would have tied the debt increase to a repeal of a minor cut to cost-of-living adjustments to the pensions of current working-age military retirees.