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The whole debt limit debate in Congress was really about the 2014 mid-term congressional elections for House and Senate Republicans who want to add to their House majority and win back the Senate and not see another fight on this issue, especially if they lose. House Speaker John Boehner brought a clean debt limit bill to the House floor and told his Republican Conference to vote the way they wanted on it, because enough House Democrats will vote in favor of it anyway and he could send it to the Senate.
As far as Senate Republicans go, who are still in the minority but can block legislation from coming up for votes if they are united, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rounded up enough Republican votes to allow for the debt ceiling bill to be voted on and then told his conference to vote the way they wanted, but we are not going to block this bill and we are going to move onto other issues where we can score political points.
With the Affordable Care Act, more Americans are getting health insurance than would have if nothing was done and we still have the health care system that we had pre-2010. The progress is slower than Democrats would like, obviously, but the progress is real and Americans are starting to feel it to the point that it may not cost Senate Democrats the Senate in 2014 alone and may give them a fighting chance to hold onto the Senate if they are able to make their elections about the economy, including immigration, where they have clear advantages.