North Coast Congressman David Wu cast what is likely his last vote Monday - in favor of the plan to raise the debt ceiling.
He joined fellow Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader and Republican Greg Walden in supporting the measure, which passed by 269 to 161. Against were Oregon Democrats Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer.
The U.S. Senate acted quickly to pass the measure Tuesday morning by 74 to 26. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., was among those voting in favor. "Putting an already struggling economy at even greater risk is not an acceptable choice," Wyden said. "But I believe that Congress can and should do better."
Wu, disgraced by a sex scandal, has announced he will be resigning from Congress. He said Monday he would make his resignation official once the president has signed the debt ceiling legislation into law.
Oregon Gov. John Kitz-haber has said he will call an election once he has Wu's resignation in hand.
Wu, however, was a bit player in a drama with bigger significance, and more compelling actors.
The drama was heightened when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman wounded in a shooting rampage seven months ago, made a surprise visit to the House floor to cast her "yes"?vote. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle rushed to embrace her, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi publicly saluted her courage and resiliency.
With scant time to spare, President Barack Obama signed the legislation late Tuesday.
Today's Senate vote capped an extraordinarily difficult Washington battle pitting tea party Republican forces in the House against Obama and Democrats controlling the Senate. The resulting compromise paired an essential increase in the government's borrowing cap with promises of more than $2 trillion of budget cuts over the next decade.
Much of the measure was negotiated on terms set by House Speaker John Boehner, including a demand that any increase in the nation's borrowing cap be matched by spending cuts. But the legislation also meets demands made by Obama, including debt-limit increases large enough to keep the government funded into 2013 and curbs on growth of the Pentagon budget.
"We've had to settle for less than we wanted, but what we've achieved is in no way insignificant," said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "But I think it was the view of those in my party that we'd try to get as much spending cuts as we could from a government we didn't control. And that's what we've done with this bipartisan agreement."
Many supporters of the legislation lamented what they saw as flaws and the intense partisanship from which it was forged. In the end, it was a lowest-common-denominators approach that puts off tough decisions on tax increases and cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare.
The measure would provide an immediate $400 billion increase in the $14.3 trillion U.S. borrowing cap, with $500 billion more assured this fall. That $900 billion would be matched by cuts to agency budgets over the next 10 years.
The Senate vote was never in doubt after Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and McConnell signed on.
But like Monday's House vote, defections came from liberal Democrats unhappy that Obama gave too much ground in the talks, as well as from conservative Republicans who said the measure would barely dent deficits that require the government to borrow more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends.