WASHINGTON - Must-pass legislation to allow the government to borrow money to pay its bills has cleared Congress for President Barack Obama's signature.
The Senate approved the measure by a near party-line 55-43 vote. All of the "aye" votes came from Obama's Democratic allies.
But the vote to pass the measure was anticlimactic after a dramatic 67-31 tally -- held open for more than an hour -- in which the measure cleared a filibuster hurdle insisted on by tea party Republican Ted Cruz of Texas.
The Senate's top two Republicans -- both facing tea party challenges in their GOP primaries this year -- provided crucial momentum after a group of Republicans were clearly reluctant to walk the plank. Several other Republicans then switched their votes in solidarity.