The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday afternoon to increase the debt ceiling and reverse $6 billion in cuts to military pensions.
The cloture vote for the debt ceiling bill, which passed 67-31, took more than an hour and many of the 12 Republicans who voted to move the legislation forward did not do so until Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) did so. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was among the Republicans to vote for cloture on the debt ceiling legislation.The bill needed 60 votes to move forward due to a filibuster by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); typically, the procedural vote would have needed a simply majority to pass.
In the end, the bill passed the Senate by a 55-43 vote, with no Republicans voting for the debt ceiling increase. The legislation, which was passed by the House on Tuesday, will raise the debt ceiling until March of 2015. Congress was under pressure to pass the bill in short order due to a February 27 deadline set by the Treasury Department. With Congress set to go on recess for the next two weeks, the nation would have likely fallen into default if lawmakers failed to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling before going on break.
The Senate also voted 95-3 to reverse a $6 billion cut to military pensions, which originally passed back in December. The bill is now headed to the president for signing after passing in the House Tuesday by a 326-90 vote. The December budget deal called for a reduction in cost-of-living adjustments for servicemembers. The bill passed today will undo the COLA reduction for current servicemembers and veterans, but it will remain in place for those who enlisted after January 1 of this year.