Biden-McCarthy Debt Ceiling Deal Approved by House, Heads to Senate

by Joshua Brown
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Biden-McCarthy Debt Ceiling Agreement

WASHINGTON ((BBN)) — In a bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives has passed a debt ceiling and budget cuts package, a deal negotiated by President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The agreement now moves to the Senate for quick approval before the approaching deadline. While the compromise did not satisfy everyone, lawmakers recognized it as a preferable option to the potential economic turmoil if Congress failed to act. The vote, which took place late Wednesday, resulted in a resounding 314-117 majority in favor of the deal, thanks to a bipartisan coalition assembled by Biden and McCarthy. Following the vote, McCarthy expressed satisfaction, stating, “We did pretty dang good.”

Although some Republicans expressed discontent with the spending restrictions, McCarthy emphasized that this deal is just the “first step.” Biden, who monitored the voting from Colorado Springs where he was scheduled to deliver a commencement address, reached out to McCarthy and other congressional leaders to express his approval. In a statement, Biden described the outcome as “good news for the American people and the American economy.”

The urgent need to prevent a government default and financial instability prompted swift action in Washington. The Treasury has warned that the U.S. would run out of funds and face a dangerous default if no action is taken by next Monday. Biden personally called lawmakers to secure their support, while McCarthy worked to convince skeptical Republicans, even facing challenges to his leadership. The Senate will now require a similar bipartisan effort from Democrats and Republicans to overcome any objections.

The 99-page bill aims to make progress in reducing the nation’s deficits, addressing Republican demands without rolling back Trump-era tax breaks as Biden had desired. To secure its passage, Biden and McCarthy relied on support from the political center, a rare occurrence in today’s divided Washington. The compromise package includes spending restrictions for the next two years, extends the debt ceiling until January 2025, and introduces certain policy changes. These changes include implementing new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid and approving an Appalachian natural gas line that faces opposition from many Democrats. The bill also increases funds for defense and veterans but cuts funding for Internal Revenue Service agents.

Raising the nation’s debt limit, which currently stands at $31 trillion, ensures that the Treasury can borrow to pay off existing U.S. debts. Republican negotiator Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana highlighted that Republicans advocated for budget cuts due to increased spending during the COVID-19 crisis and Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which included significant investments to combat climate change funded from other revenue sources. However, Republican Rep. Chip Roy, a member of the Freedom Caucus leading the opposition, criticized the deal, stating, “My beef is that you cut a deal that shouldn’t have been cut.”

Negotiators from the White House and Congress worked late into the night for weeks to reach this deal, and McCarthy made efforts to gather support among skeptical colleagues. Pizza was brought in at one point as McCarthy explained the details of the bill to Republicans, addressed their concerns, and urged them to focus on the budget savings the bill offered. McCarthy faced a challenging audience, with the hard-right House Freedom Caucus criticizing the compromise for not including sufficient spending cuts and vowing to impede its passage. The larger conservative faction, the Republican Study Committee, refrained from taking a position, while even centrist conservatives within the party remained uncertain, leaving McCarthy to seek votes within his slim Republican majority.

Several conservative Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, refrained from actively opposing the deal. Trump, in an interview with Iowa radio host Simon Conway, described it as “it is what it is.” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries placed the responsibility of securing Republican votes on McCarthy, noting that 218 votes are required for approval in the 435-member

What is the debt ceiling deal?

The debt ceiling deal refers to a bipartisan agreement reached between President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy to address the nation’s debt ceiling and implement budget cuts.

Why was the deal necessary?

The deal was necessary to prevent a default crisis and ensure that the government can continue to meet its financial obligations. Failure to raise the debt ceiling could lead to severe economic upheaval.

What were the main components of the deal?

The deal included spending restrictions for the next two years, an extension of the debt ceiling until January 2025, and various policy changes. It also introduced new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid and approved an Appalachian natural gas line.

How did lawmakers respond to the deal?

Lawmakers had mixed reactions to the deal. Some Republicans expressed dissatisfaction, believing that the spending restrictions did not go far enough. Democrats had concerns about the work requirements and the approval of the natural gas project.

Did the deal receive bipartisan support?

Yes, the deal received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, with a robust 314-117 vote in favor. President Biden and Speaker McCarthy worked to assemble a bipartisan coalition for its passage.

What happens next?

The deal now goes to the Senate for approval. Senators will need to work together in a bipartisan manner to overcome any objections and ensure its passage. The goal is to secure swift approval before the looming deadline to avoid a potential default.

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