WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 - The Senate is likely to approve, as early as Wednesday, legislation that would lift the nation’s debt ceiling until March 2015 and avoid a government default at the end of this month.

The House approved the bill Tuesday night, on a 221-201 vote, after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, dropped previous demands to tie the bill to military retirement pensions or other offsets. In support of the bill were 193 Democrats and 28 Republicans, while in opposition, there were 199 Republicans and two Democrats. The roll call vote can be viewed here.

Boehner surprised many of his colleagues when he announced Tuesday that he would pursue a “clean” bill, but told reporters he had no choice. “When you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing,” he said. “We’ve seen that before, and we’ve seen it again.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., seemed amused by Boehner’s comments. “I think it is pathetic that the speaker of the House of Representatives, the leader of his party, cannot get votes for something he says is absolutely essential to do,” Hoyer said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he may call up the bill on Wednesday, but noted he wanted to wait for an update on the approaching snowstorm. It wouldn’t be the end of the world - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Congress has until about Feb. 27 to address the issue.

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