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Originally published Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

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Editorial: Praise for Dave Reichert’s and Doc Hastings’ sensible debt limit votes

Washington’s U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert and Doc Hastings were among a handful of House Republicans who did the right thing in voting to raise the federal debt limit without conditions.

Seattle Times Editorial

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KUDOS to U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, for voting this week to raise the federal debt ceiling with no strings attached until March 2015.

Hastings and Reichert were two of just 28 Republicans who bucked the majority of their caucus and joined with almost all the U.S. House’s minority Democrats to narrowly pass the “clean” debt bill.

The measure, later approved by the U.S. Senate, spared the nation — for a year, at least — another round of the needless brinkmanship that culminated in last fall’s partial government shutdown.

That episode damaged the economy, and congressional Republicans rightfully received most of the blame. You’d think more of them would have figured out by now that, while many voters share their goal of trimming government spending, they don’t want to risk default to accomplish it.

This vote wasn’t about new spending. It was about the government paying bills it already has incurred — with Congress’ approval.

The other two Republicans in Washington’s House delegation, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas, don’t seem to get that yet. They joined 197 other Republicans in voting against the debt-ceiling increase.

Their opposition is particularly disappointing in light of their votes last fall for ending the government shutdown and extending the debt limit.

They defied the GOP’s tea-party wing and a majority of their own caucus then. But not this time.

One ominous note: Of the 28 House Republicans who wisely voted for the latest debt measure, at least six — including Hastings — are retiring. Here’s hoping their successors show the same wisdom when this issue comes up again.

If just 10 “yea” votes had switched to “nay,” the bill would not have passed.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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