Debt Deal Moves to Full House Amid Hard-Right Revolt

May 31, 2023

The deal to suspend the debt ceiling brokered by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was headed to the full House Wednesday amid multiple reports of revolt from lawmakers within the hard-right flank of the GOP.

The House Rules Committee cleared the legislation by one vote—7 to 6—Tuesday evening, sending the bill that Biden and McCarthy agreed to on Saturday to the full House, where it needs to secure a 218 vote majority before sending it to the Senate.

However, hard-right Republicans in the House have signaled that they are in open revolt against the bill.

“Completely unacceptable,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) has said. “Trillions and trillions of dollars in debt, for crumbs. For a pittance.”

That’s after Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), one of two Republicans who voted with all four Democrats on the House Rules Committee against the deal—as Democrats typically do on Republican-backed legislation—called the agreement “a turd-sandwich.”

The Chair of the far-right Freedom Caucus, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), said earlier on Tuesday that the deal “fails completely” and his caucus “will do everything in our power to stop it.”

That’s even as McCarthy has insisted that the bill is the “most conservative deal we’ve ever had.”

The deal suspends the debt ceiling beyond next year’s presidential election into 2025. It also caps spending in the 2024 and 2025 budgets, claws back unused Covid pandemic funds, speeds up the permitting process for some energy projects, and include extra work requirements for aid programs like food stamps, though overall funding is mostly held flat for domestic programs.

Those work requirements don’t sit well with liberal Democrats, and the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), has said that Democratic leaders “should worry” that they don’t have the support of her caucus’ 101 members.

In general, however, Democrats have signaled grudging support of the deal.

“I still feel like we’re being held hostage,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said Tuesday.

She added, though, “The fact of the matter is, the country cannot default, period. And the consequences are scary and intimidating. We would be harming our economy for years to come, hurting seniors, veterans, children. I could go through the list. So default is not an option.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has said that he expects Democratic support. “Democrats are committed to making sure we do our part in avoiding default,” he stated Tuesday.

McCarthy also told reporters on Tuesday, “I’m confident we’ll pass the bill.”

While House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) said that his team was “whipping [votes] every day…We whip for 218. We don’t whip for 150.”

If the legislation passes in the House it moves to the Senate where Republican leaders have said they’re “bullish” on getting the deal passed.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Senate Minority Whip, said Tuesday, “I think the wins certainly are signficant,” adding that expects at least nine GOP Senators will support it in the chamber where Democrats (and Democratic-leaning Independents) hold a 52-seat majority.

According to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the federal government will completely run out of money on Monday, June 5. Not passing the legislation would spell “catastrophe” for the country, she has said.

Wall Street analysts have further noted that a stock market plunge as a result of debt default could wipe out 6 million jobs and $15 trillion in wealth.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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