WASHINGTON — Departing from the default crisis as President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy form a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative backlash and progressive opposition. , the House approved a package of debt ceilings and budget cuts late Wednesday.
Few were happy with the hard-fought deal, but lawmakers praised it as better than alternatives and could spell catastrophic economic havoc if Congress doesn’t act. . Tensions ran high throughout the day as far-right Republicans rejected the deal, while Democrats said they risked defaulting as early as next week due to “radical” Republican views.
With an overwhelming 314-117 vote in the House, the bill will be sent to the Senate, where it is expected to pass by the end of the week.
McCarthy said it was necessary to curb Washington’s “runaway spending” and began an evening speech praising the bill’s cuts, saying the party was working to “give hope to America.” claimed.
Mr McCarthy said this was just a “first step” amid strong complaints from Republicans that spending limits were not going far enough.
The policy did not roll back the Trump-era tax cuts Mr. Biden wanted, but made some headway in reining in the national debt as Republicans demanded. Biden and McCarthy relied on support from political centrists to pass, an unusual move in a divided Washington.
In a statement released after the vote, Biden said: “I have made it clear that the only way forward is a bipartisan compromise that wins the support of both parties. This agreement meets that test.”
He called the vote “good news for the American people and the American economy.”
Biden sent senior White House officials to the Capitol and called lawmakers directly to bolster his support. McCarthy has tried to persuade skeptical Republicans and even fend off challenges to his own leadership in a rush to avoid a potentially disastrous US default.
A swift passage by the Senate later this week would allow government checks to continue to be paid to Social Security recipients, veterans and others, and prevent financial chaos at home and abroad. Next Monday is the day the Treasury announced that the US would run out of money to pay its debts.
In all, the 99-page bill limits spending over the next two years, suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025, imposes new working conditions on older Americans who receive food aid, It includes several policy changes, including greenlighting the construction of the Appalachian Natural Gas Line, which many Democrats oppose.
Increase funding for the Defense Forces and veterans, and inject new funding into the Internal Revenue Service.
Raising the national debt ceiling, currently at $31 trillion, would allow the Treasury to borrow to pay off US debt already incurred.
Louisiana Rep. Garrett Graves, the Republican’s top negotiator on the deal, said the Republican party has cut budgets after years of additional spending, first for the COVID-19 crisis and then for Biden’s anti-inflation bill. and that historic investments in fighting climate change have paid off. Earn income elsewhere.
But Republican Rep. Chip Roy, a member of the Freedom Caucus, which helps lead the opposition, said, “What I am convinced is that you made a deal that you shouldn’t have agreed to.” Told.
Negotiators struggled late into the night for weeks to reach a deal with the White House, and Mr. McCarthy spent days trying to garner support from skeptics. On the eve of the vote, as he briefed Republicans in detail, answered questions, and encouraged them to keep track of the bill’s cuts, his aides even shoved pizza into the Capitol.
Speakers have faced tough audiences. Backed by conservative senators and outside groups, the far-right House of Representatives Liberal Party condemned the compromise as falling far short of needed spending cuts and vowed to try to block it.
The much larger conservative Republican Research Commission declined to take a position. Even ordinary centrists were unsure, and Mr. McCarthy sought votes from a narrow Republican majority.
Eerily warned that conservatives could try to oust McCarthy over compromise.
In an interview with Iowa radio host Simon Conway, former President Donald Trump, one of the most influential Republicans, took a firm stand on the deal, saying, “That’s the way it is.”
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said it was up to McCarthy to get Republican votes in the 435-strong House, requiring 218 votes for confirmation.
As tallies languished in the afternoon procedural vote, Mr. Jeffries stood silently and held up a green ballot card, signaling that Democrats would close the gap to ensure a vote. They did so, pushing a bill that far-right Republicans, including many in the Freedom Caucus, refused to support.
“House Democrats have again asked for help to avoid a dangerous default,” Jefferies (DN.Y) said.
“What does that say about this extreme MAGA Republican majority?” he said of the party, which is aligned with President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” political campaign.
And in the final poll hours later, 71 Republicans defeated their majority to vote against it, thus ensuring Democrats once again secured approval and leading the tally.
The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office said the spending caps included in the policy would reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over a decade, a top goal for Republicans in trying to contain the debt burden.
But in a surprise that complicated Republican support, the CBO said that the Republican effort to impose work obligations on older Americans who receive food stamps would ultimately boost spending by $2.1 billion over the period. said it would be That’s because the final agreement exempts veterans and the homeless and expands food stamp rolls by 78,000 people each month, the CBO said.
But liberal dissatisfaction is strong, with nearly 40 Democrats also defecting, denouncing the new labor requirements for those aged 50 to 54 in the food aid program.
Some Democrats were also outraged by the White House’s negotiations over landmark changes to the National Environmental Policy Act and approval of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline natural gas project. Energy development is important to Senator Joe Manchin of Virginia, but many others oppose it, saying it will not help fight climate change.
Stocks fell on Wall Street.
In the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell are working to pass the bill by the weekend.
“There is no room for error,” Schumer warned.
Senators who have largely stayed on the sidelines for much of the negotiations are pushing for amendments to restructure the package. However, it seemed unlikely that any changes would be made at this stage, as there was not much time left before the Monday deadline.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/2023/5/31/23744941/house-oks-debt-ceiling-bill-to-avoid-default-sends-biden-mccarthy-deal-to-senate House approves debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy accord to Senate