WASHINGTON — A deal reached by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Saturday night was pushed back by House members from both parties, raising doubts about whether the deal will guarantee votes to pass. Congress and avoid a default before June 5.
Hardline conservative Republicans who make up the House Freedom Caucus said the bill did not deliver the scale of spending cuts they wanted, while progressive Democrats expressed unease with the expanded work requirements for food stamps and other concessions made by the White House.
“Yeah, they have to be worried,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, who chairs the House Progressive Caucus, when asked in a CNN interview about support from other liberals. “I think it will depend on what the legislative text is.”
McCarthy said the text of “The Fiscal Responsibility Act,” which is expected to be about 150 pages, will be released later Sunday. But already the tentative agreement has sparked opposition from several of the 45 House Republicans who make up the House Freedom Caucus.
“This ‘deal’ is madness,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, RS.C., tweeted. “A $4,000,000 debt ceiling increase with virtually no reduction is not what we agreed to. We will not vote to bankrupt our country. The American people deserve better.”
The compromise, finalized in an hour-and-a-half phone call between Biden and McCarthy on Saturday night, would increase the limit on how much the government can borrow through the end of 2024.
In return, it would cap annual discretionary spending for two years, keeping non-military spending levels stable next year and increasing them by 1% in 2025.
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It also responds to several Republican spending demands: creates new deadlines for recipients of food strains who do not meet work requirements, recovers billions of dollars in unspent COVID-19 funding, reverses $10 billion in emergency funding. application of the IRS and expedites the authorization of energy projects.
Yet Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, another member of the Freedom Caucus, slammed the agreement for the maintenance “the inflated spending levels of 2023” and the preservation of the “Democrats’ wish list”. He criticized the deal for leaving the essential $80 billion for IRS enforcement untouched, failing to eliminate climate subsidies from Biden’s Cut Inflation Act, and failing to expand the work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
“We will try”, Roy said in a tweetresponding to an individual demanding that he prevent the deal from passing the House.
McCarthy: ‘There’s nothing in the bill for Democrats’
McCarthy played down the fuss of some Republican lawmakers during an appearance on Fox New Sunday, saying 95% of his members support a deal that will see them be “the first Congress to cut spending year over year.” . He said Republican leaders will have the votes to pass.
“There’s nothing in the bill for Democrats,” McCarthy said. “We were able to do that when the president said he wasn’t even going to talk to us.”
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R.S.D., one of the deal’s top Republican negotiators, said only “the most colorful conservatives” oppose the deal. “Those votes were never really on the line, we understand that,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union. “It will pass.”
The deal needs 218 votes in the 435-member House of Representatives to pass, then it would head to the Democratic-controlled Senate ahead of Biden’s signature.
Critics among the more conservative Republicans in the House were expected. As a result, the White House has estimated that as many as 100 House Democrats may be needed to vote in favor of the debt ceiling deal so it can move forward.
Rep. Jim Himes, a moderate Democrat from Connecticut, said, “I’m anything but a clear yes at this point.” during an appearance on Fox News on Sundayarguing that the bill does not address any of the Democratic priorities.
But Himes said the bill could find support from Democrats because it’s far less sweeping than the debt ceiling bill that House Republicans passed last month.
“This is not a bill that is going to make Democrats happy,” he said. “But it’s a small enough bill that, in the service of not destroying the economy this week, could get Democratic votes.”
Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, said he understood House Republican leaders had pledged to get at least 150 Republican votes, which would mean that ‘About 70 House Democrats would be needed for passage.
Jeffries applauded the deal, saying it “protected the American people from the kinds of devastating spending cuts” originally proposed by Republicans.
“I expect there will be Democratic support once we have the opportunity to be fully briefed by the White House,” Jeffries said. “But I’m not going to predict what those numbers might ultimately look like.”
Contact Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tentative debt ceiling deal faces uncertain outlook in Congress