It was supposed to happen Wednesday, then again on Thursday. It was supposed to be a squeaker, and potentially a viable measure to avoid default. But in the end there was no suspense, and the vote was mostly ceremonial. Early Friday evening, House Republicans passed legislation to raise the national debt limit -- their final symbolic gesture in a partisan debate that has raged for months and seen the GOP bring the country to the brink of economic collapse.
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The final vote was 218 in favor to 210 against. Zero Democrats joined the majority, and only 22 Republicans voted with the Democrats.
When discussions between Boehner and President Obama over pairing a the debt limit extension and deficit reduction measures fell apart, the task of avoiding default fell to Congress -- and presented Boehner with a major challenge: How could he be both a responsible steward of the country and usher through bipartisan legislation to avoid a catastrophic default, and not break faith with his members.