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Debt ceiling deal faces skepticism from far-right Republicans and liberal Democrats

Finding a compromise in a politically fractured Washington is the hardest part. What can be worse is the sales work.

The White House and House Republicans now have the Herculean task of selling the ‘deal in principle’ to suspend the debt ceiling in exchange for caps on federal spending to the skeptical flanks of their base who largely dislike bipartisan agreements. Leaders have only days to push it through both houses of a factionalized and deeply divided Congress.

Far-left and far-right members of the House have already begun to criticize the compromise announced Saturday night as a major loss. Liberals are still unconvinced whether to support a bill that retains few of their priorities, while staunch conservatives have already concluded that it was a bad deal, because it doesn’t do much -something to blunt government spending and reduce the country’s debt, which now stands at over $31 trillion.

Such points of tension pose significant hurdles for the House GOP and Democratic leaders to overcome as they assess whether they have enough votes to pass a bipartisan bill to avoid a historic default by the end of the day. June 5.

Biden, McCarthy reach ‘agreement in principle’ to raise debt ceiling as default looms

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) privately soothed his conference while publicly reinforcing that the emerging deal is a compromise that all factions across the ideological political spectrum should support.

“We are finalizing an agreement with the president that I believe is worthy of the American people,” he told reporters Sunday morning, hours before speaking by phone with President Biden after the text was released. of the bill on Sunday afternoon. “He’s not getting everything everyone wanted. But that’s, in a divided government, that’s where we end up. I think this is a very positive bill.

McCarthy projected confidently on Sunday that he would have the “majority of the majority” of House Republicans vote for the deal, a standard to bring any legislation to the ground that staunch conservatives have pushed McCarthy to agree to in exchange for their votes. so that he can become president.

That suggests GOP leaders would need at least 111 Republicans to back him, plus up to 107 Democrats to hit the 218-vote threshold needed to pass the House.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) said Sunday he reserved judgment on the deal, noting that his caucus had yet to review the legislation when pressed. whether he could deliver the necessary Democratic votes. White House officials are expected to brief all House Democrats early Sunday evening, but have reached out to individual lawmakers and circulated A three pages “topline points” document to all offices. They will brief Senate Democrats after their call with House Democrats.

Jeffries said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he trusts Biden to deliver “an outcome that averts a catastrophic default, keeps us from bringing down our economy, and keeps the extreme MAGA Republicans from unleashing a recession-killing recession.” ‘jobs’.

Republicans have long recognized over weeks of negotiations that they will need Democratic votes to push a bipartisan bill through the Senate, given that their partisan proposal barely had enough support to pass their narrow majority of four votes last month.

Members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus have previously balked at the bill, tweeting their objections after House Republicans held an all-member briefing Saturday night. Many have echoed their informal adviser Russ Vought, director of former President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, who says the deal will add $4 trillion in additional debt and directed Conservatives to “fight” the bill “with all their might”.

“No one claiming to be a conservative could justify a YES vote,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), who never voted for McCarthy for president, despite congratulating him all throughout his term so far.

Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.) summed up McCarthy’s call Saturday night as “the RINOs [Republicans in Name Only] praising McCarthy for getting almost zippo in exchange for a $4 billion debt ceiling hike,” and said the framework was enough to make one vomit.

McCarthy responded to Bishop on “Fox News Sunday”, saying his objection is “correct because over 95% of all conference attendees were very excited” about the bill.

Republican leaders and key McCarthy allies will need to assess the position of lawmakers from all five ideological factions, to ensure support doesn’t drift too far as Freedom Caucus colleagues or outside influencers try to drum up support against the GOP leadership.

Rep. Dusty Johnson (RS.D.), who chairs one such faction, the Main Street Governance Group, hailed the deal McCarthy and Biden reached in part because it contains many Republican priorities.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Johnson called overall GOP resistance minimal since it was voiced only by “the most colorful conservatives” in the conference. Johnson boldly predicted that even some of the approximately three dozen members of the Freedom Caucus could end up voting for the bill. He recognized the Good as a resister who would not be influenced, even with divine intervention.

“It doesn’t matter if Mother Teresa came back from the dead and called him. He does not vote for. He was never going to. Johnson then added, “It will pass.”

The first real test will come early this week when the House Rules Committee meets to debate and vote on whether to pass the deal for full consideration in the House. Leaders hope the full vote could take place as early as Wednesday.

This low-key committee could sink or save the Biden-McCarthy deal

The rules committee is made up of four Democrats and nine Republicans, three of whom reflect the Freedom Caucus’ staunch conservatism. Reps. Ralph Norman (RS.C.) and Chip Roy (R-Tex.) have already voiced their opposition to the deal, putting the onus on Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) to provide the vote needed to pass the bill out of committee assuming all Democrats vote against it and McCarthy’s six allies support it.

Massie said he remains undecided, citing his ‘need to see text’, but the bill includes a major proposal he introduced this year that would put in place a procedural mechanism forcing Congress to approve all 12 bills. credit law. If Congress is unable to pass the 12 funding bills, the federal government would continue to operate on the previous year’s allocation minus a 1% cut – all Freedom members’ key demands Caucus in exchange for their votes to support McCarthy as president. It is unclear whether Democrats on the House Rules Committee would support the bill.

More broadly, Democrats have been worried for weeks that the White House has not defended their priorities and even Sunday struggled to figure out if there will be enough support to push him through their ranks.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” that the White House should consider whether it can rally the roughly 100 caucus members. She was unsure if she would support the deal as she hasn’t seen it in writing but is “unhappy with some of the things I hear about”. Specifically, Jayapal criticized the new work requirements for some people who receive federal food assistance, calling it “bad policy.”

The New Democrat Coalition, a group of about 100 pragmatic and moderate House Democrats, said in a statement on Sunday that its members will work with the White House and Democratic leaders to ensure there is enough support. from their colleagues to send the bill to the Senate.

“We want to be clear — our members pledge to uphold the full faith and credit of the United States,” said Rep. Ann Kuster (DN.H.), who chairs the group.

What’s in the McCarthy-Biden deal to lift the debt ceiling? Here are 6 takeaways.

Rep. James E. Clyburn (DS.C.), who serves as House Democrats’ aide leader, said on MSNBC that the work requirement changes are “a pretty good compromise,” a surprisingly different tone from that used by a majority of Democrats who are uniformly against any new proposals. Clyburn said he spoke two days ago with Biden, who told him he would compromise on able-bodied workers “but not compassion,” referring to expanded food stamp eligibility for homeless and veterans.

“That’s the kind of person Joe Biden is,” he said. “A little process, but more compassion.”

Jayapal criticized Republicans for the long and acrimonious process that led to the agreement. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Why all this drama?’ Because they didn’t get what they said they wanted,” Jayapal said.

When asked what Republicans had to give up to get this deal, Johnson insisted: Nothing.

“That’s what’s amazing to me,” Johnson said. “There were no victories for the Democrats” and “There is nothing about passing this bill that will be more liberal or more progressive than it is today. is a remarkable conservative achievement.

Meanwhile in the Senate, where at least nine Republican senators will need to join the 51-member Democratic caucus to send the bill to Biden’s office, support also appears uncertain.

“I won’t pass the Biden defense budget and call it a success,” fumed Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) on “Fox News Sunday.”

Senator JD Vance (R-Ohio) retweeted Roy’s tweet criticizing the deal, and added that the more he learns, “the more bad news I think it is”.

The White House will also have to persuade its party members in the upper house. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on MSNBC, “We are still learning the details of this agreement” and “I will reserve judgment until I read it.”

The lack of legislative text has left much to the interpretation of both sides, presenting the looming challenge that leaders and key allies will have to strive to overcome.

Writing in “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said he was unconvinced that a deal could garner enough votes after pointing out that the Freedom Caucus had publicly “obliterated the deal” and predicted that his Liberal colleagues would loudly denounce the bill. during the call with White House officials on Sunday.

“I hope I’m wrong in my pessimistic prognosis that this could be a disaster,” he said.

Tony Romm, Jeff Stein, Meryl Kornfield and Toluse Olorunnipa contributed reporting.


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