Behind the scenes of a dramatic debt vote
By: Manu Raju and Burgess Everett
February 12, 2014 06:57 PM EST
Sen. Ted Cruz and the GOP rank and file ultimately backed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn into a corner on the debt ceiling increase.
The leaders had wanted to allow the toxic measure to pass with just 51 votes so all 45 Republicans could vote against it. But Cruz, the Texas tea party freshman, demanded approval by a 60-vote threshold.
So McConnell and Cornyn tried to persuade more than five Republicans in safe seats to support the effort, but they were met with stiff resistance. No Republican wanted to be vote No. 60 to advance a bill to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts, forcing the GOP leaders to secure a comfortable margin of victory or risk being blamed for a historic debt default.
(Also on POLITICO: Senate passes debt ceiling bill)
Miffed that they have long been asked to take tough votes when the GOP leaders voted “no,” Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski, privately pressured McConnell and Cornyn to vote to break the filibuster, sources said. Murkowski resisted voting for the measure without the support of her leadership team. Continue reading “Behind the scenes of a dramatic debt vote”