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House Passes Debt Limit Extension

The "clean" extension of the debt limit passed with 28 Republicans joining almost all Democrats in support.
The House of Represenatives on Tuesday passed an extension of the debt limit.
The House of Represenatives on Tuesday passed an extension of the debt limit.JASON REED / Reuters

The House has passed a "clean" extension of the debt limit.

Twenty-eight Republicans joined all but two Democrats to approve the extension of the debt limit until March 2015 -- without any additional legislative wish list items attached.

The vote was 221-201.

The Senate is expected to take up the debt limit extension before the end of the week.

Republicans had wanted to attach some kind of policy provision to the must-pass legislation. Members suggested including measures like approving the Keystone XL pipeline or repealing part of the Affordable Care Act, but leaders were unable to secure enough votes for those add-ons to ensure passage. The White House also insisted it would not pay “ransom” for the extension, a position that Obama successfully held during last year’s government shutdown.

Related: Why We're Back on the Debt Ceiling Subject

Ultimately, House Speaker John Boehner brought a “clean” debt limit extension for a vote, a move that incensed many conservatives who wanted to extract some kind of concession from the White House.

On Tuesday, Boehner said that the nation’s debt is Obama’s responsibility. “Let his party give him the debt ceiling increase that he wants,” Boehner added, saying that Republicans would supply the “minimum” number of votes to get the legislation over the finish line.

“He’s the one driving up the debt and the question [Republicans are] asking is, why should I deal with his debt limit?” he said. “So the fact is, we’ll let the Democrats put the votes up, we’ll put a minimum number of votes up to get it passed.”

That represented a major reversal for Boehner, who had previously insisted that an increase in borrowing must be matched by an equal amount of spending cuts.

The House vote on the debt limit was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but it was shifted to Tuesday when a major snowstorm was projected to hit the East Coast.