The final major vote of John Boehner’s drama-filled tenure as House speaker turned out to have very little drama at all.
A bipartisan majority in the House on Wednesday afternoon easily approved the two-year budget agreement that Boehner negotiated with fellow congressional leaders and the Obama administration. The vote was 266-167. Every Democrat voted in favor of the measure, while two-thirds of Republicans voted no. The deal increases federal spending by $80 billion and raises the debt ceiling through March 2017, all but ensuring that the president is done with the fiscal crises that have marked his last five years in the White House.
The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, where supporters are expected to overcome opposition from conservatives and in particular, three of the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidates. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul have all come out against the deal, and Paul has vowed to “filibuster” the agreement once he returns to Washington from the Republican debate in Colorado. But there appears to be little that Paul can do beyond delivering one of his trademark long speeches, given that well over 60 senators are expected to support the deal, and the nation does not face a potential debt default until November 3.