Endgame: House passes clean debt-ceiling hike, 221-201

Voting yes: 193 Democrats and just 28 Republicans. Boehner did, as expected, find the votes. Barely.

An interesting, if predictable, mix of leadership (Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, Issa), retirees (McKeon, Coble, Wolf), and blue-state centrists (Nunes, Grimm, Peter King). Per Robert Costa, here’s how Boehner broke the news to the caucus this morning. Good luck squaring this logic with his big amnesty push:

Ahead of the midterm elections, Boehner argued that now is not the time to get drawn into weeks of dramatic headlines and fiscal battles with President Obama. “We’re not going to make ourselves the story,” he said. He spoke about the need for the party to not get mired in damaging endeavors

But they didn’t speak up or clap. Boehner just stood there for a moment after he finished, eyed the room, and walked toward his seat. On his way there, Boehner shook his head, then turned to the nearly mute crowd and wondered aloud why he wasn’t getting applause. “I’m getting this monkey off your back and you’re not going to even clap?” Boehner asked, scowling playfully at some tea-party favorites.

The last plan, to trade raising the debt ceiling for restoring COLA adjustments to military pensions that had been stripped out by Paul Ryan’s budget, simply couldn’t get 218 Republican votes. Per WaPo, Rep. Tom Cotton, a veteran and Mark Pryor’s challenger for Arkansas’s Senate seat, was especially grieved that he might be forced to vote for either a debt-ceiling hike or against restoring those military benefits. Solution: A clean hike and a separate bill on military pensions that passed this afternoon overwhelmingly, 326-90. Interestingly, Paul Ryan voted no on both, arguing that restoring the COLA adjustment meant taking money away from military readiness. He stood by his budget to the bitter end.

Exit quotation from Dan Foster: