Senate breaks debt limit deadlock despite ‘no’ votes from Lee, Romney

Eleven Republicans voted to break the GOP-led filibuster.

(Greg Nash | Pool) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voted against a measure to temporarily raise the U.S. debt ceiling until early December.

After weeks of brinksmanship, the U.S. Senate was able to overcome a Republican-led blockade on a vote to temporarily suspend the U.S. debt limit until December.

Republicans had vowed to not provide a single GOP vote in the Senate to raise the debt ceiling, forcing Democrats to go it alone to increase the amount of money the U.S. is allowed to borrow and to stave off a potential default.

The Senate was able to break a GOP filibuster Thursday night, voting 61-38 to end debate, with 11 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats. The bill then won final passage on a straight party-line vote 50-48.

Utah Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney both voted against ending the filibuster and against the short-term debt increase. Earlier this week, Romney said he would join the GOP-led filibuster against the debt ceiling increase.

During floor debate, Romney was reportedly angered by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s speech hammering Republicans for delay tactics during the debt limit fight. After the vote, Romney went up to Schumer and reportedly told him, “There’s a time to be graceful and there’s a time to be combative. That was a time for grace and common ground.”

The bill raises the debt ceiling by $480 billion, which punts the deadline to increase the borrowing limit until early December. The House must still approve the changes. The Treasury Department says the ceiling must be lifted by October 18 for the U.S. to avoid running out of money and defaulting on the existing debt.