John Boehner infuriated many of his fellow Republicans, placed his leadership position in jeopardy, but served the nation Tuesday in calling for a vote on raising the government's borrowing authority without conditions.
No high political drama this time.
No duel with Democrats of the kind that's become a fixture in recent years. No needless threat of U.S. default on its debt. No further erosion of the nation's credit rating. No risking an unpopular government shutdown or economic collapse.
There were no unnecessary partisan provocations in the course of doing what must be done — allowing the government to pay its bills — of the kind that make foreign creditors think we're crazy and are unable to govern ourselves. No galloping to the edge of fiscal doom.
This time Speaker Boehner, whose Republican Party controls the U.S. House, offered a resolution to suspend the debt ceiling until March 2015 — without tea party-inspired conditions that would ensure a fight with Democrats. Impractical conditions like Republicans agreeing to support a hike in the debt ceiling but only if Democrats agree to repeal Obamacare. Fat chance.
The measure put to a vote by Mr. Boehner was called "clean." No conditions. It passed the House 221-201 and the Democratic-controlled Senate 55-43 on Wednesday, as the current debt ceiling was about to expire.
Republicans hated it, with only 28 GOP House members, including Mr. Boehner, voting for it.
In truth, Mr. Boehner as House leader would have put forward a debt-ceiling resolution with conditions if only a majority of the divided Republicans could agree on one. But they couldn't.
So Mr. Boehner did the right thing and called a clean resolution for a vote, averting fiscal chaos.
In doing so, he honored Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon who always threatened to veto a debt ceiling resolution if it was encumbered with conditions. Mr. Reagan figured something as important as the nation's credit shouldn't be enmeshed in partisan wrangling.
It is said one could hear a pin drop when Mr. Boehner returned to his chair after telling House Republicans he intended to offer a clean resolution. "What, no clapping?" he is said to have joked.
Belatedly, put your hands together for John Boehner.Copyright © 2015, CT Now