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Home News Fiscal Power Move: House Votes ‘Yes’ on Debt Ceiling, Senate Next

Fiscal Power Move: House Votes ‘Yes’ on Debt Ceiling, Senate Next

Fiscal Power Move: House Votes ‘Yes’ on Debt Ceiling, Senate Next

( – On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly approved raising the debt ceiling in return for Republican-backed spending restraint measures.

The “Fiscal Responsibility Act,” which was approved 314 to 117, will now be considered by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

A sizable majority of both parties—149 Republicans and 165 Democrats—voted in favor of the legislation.

Given the party’s general opposition to expanding the country’s borrowing ceiling, the high-stakes vote, which called lawmakers back to Washington during Memorial Day recess week, had presented Republican leaders with their most challenging whipping job yet.

The package includes the Republicans’ preferred spending limitations and other provisions, raising the limit, now $31 trillion, through January 2025. It follows Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s caution that a default on debt may happen as soon as June 5.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the rest of the GOP leadership released a statement saying that the House had “passed the largest deficit reduction package in American history.”

“For the first time in ten years, Congress will spend less money than it does this year without raising taxes on families, saving taxpayers an estimated $2.1 trillion.”

President Joe Biden and McCarthy had weeks of protracted talks before Wednesday. Biden tried to raise the debt ceiling while giving McCarthy as little ground as possible.

Biden had steadfastly refused to negotiate with the Republican-controlled House for months before. However, the president finally gave in after repeated warnings from the Treasury Department about an impending potential default in the early summer and the GOP enacting its debt increase package in April.

“If you want to attempt to make it look like I made any compromises about the debt ceiling,” I didn’t, Biden stated in response to a question at a news conference this week about his pledges not to do so. He continued, “On the budget, I reached a compromise.”

He encouraged the House and Senate to approve the final accord so that he may sign it by June 5.

Republican leaders have hailed the agreement as a victory after using their slim majority to gain spending limitations for the following two years, reimbursements of unspent COVI funds, increased job requirements for welfare claimants, and the restart of student loan payments, among other things.

In his floor speech before the vote, McCarthy referred to it as “the largest savings in American history” and claimed that it would stop the “runaway spending” that has come to characterize the Biden administration.

In contrast to past speakers, McCarthy stated that you don’t have to pass the law to find out what’s in it.

“We produced a bill that, in a divided government, takes a step toward smaller government, less regulation, more economic growth, and higher take-home pay,” McCarthy said.

The speaker had upheld his promise to give members 72 hours to examine the 99-page law before voting on it during the speaker contest in January.

Even though the law was ultimately passed by two-thirds of the Republican conference, GOP leaders faced significant criticism from within the party after some claimed the legislation was insufficient.

According to Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY), “I don’t want to create a new baseline in terms of spending in this country.”

She continued, saying that she was acting in accordance with the wishes of her voters by opposing the law. “I also don’t like the fact that we’re just simply suspending the debt through a certain date rather than by a specific amount,” she said.

Some of the most outspoken opponents of the bill were members of the House Freedom Caucus, who lobbied Republicans to oppose it and said it was inferior to the GOP-preferred bill that had passed the House in April, even though no Democrats had backed that bill.

When a reporter asked if he would prefer to vote for the McCarthy-Biden compromise or default, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), a caucus member, responded, “I’m willing to take that risk because the country is in deep financial trouble.”

“Default’s not going to happen,” Norman continued. “Your assumption is that we will default. They aren’t. Democrats are unable to take that chance. For God’s sake, it was Biden who walked away from the negotiating table for 97 days.”

However, a few staunchly traditionalist conservatives, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and others were uncharacteristically supportive of the bill because of a specific provision that they claimed would force significant and historical changes to government spending practices.

Massie’s amendment to the measure would force the House to pass 12 individual appropriation bills rather than a single omnibus bill to finance the government later in the year, which Massie claimed would help “restore regular order.”

“We have the chance to regulate the overall level of spending,” according to Massie.

The Senate is expected to vote on the “Fiscal Responsibility Act” before June 5.

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