President Joe Biden says he “feels good” about talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about a debt ceiling and budget deal as the White House and Congressional leaders fight to raise the nation’s borrowing limit and prevent a devastating US default. Work to pass it in time this week to stop. ,
Biden spent part of the Memorial Day holiday working the phone, calling lawmakers from both parties as the president prepares to vote. Many hardline conservatives are criticizing the deal because the deep spending cuts they wanted are falling short, while liberals denounce policy changes such as new work requirements for older Americans in the food assistance program.
Tuesday afternoon will be a crucial test when the House Rules Committee will consider the package and vote on sending it to the full House for an expected vote on Wednesday.
“I feel great about it,” Biden told reporters on Monday after leaving Washington for his home in Delaware.
“I’ve talked to a number of members,” he said, among them Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a past participant in large bipartisan deals that largely made it out.
“I talked to a whole bunch of people and it feels good,” Biden said.
For progressive Democrats raising concerns about the package, the president had a simple message: “Talk to me.”
As lawmakers shape the 99-page bill, the final product is expected to be overwhelmingly satisfying. But Democrat Biden and Republican McCarthy are counting on drawing majority support from the political center, a rarity in a divided Washington, to join the ballot to prevent a disastrous federal default.
Wall Street will open early Tuesday morning and provide its assessment, as US financial markets that were closed for deals over the weekend show their reaction to the results.
McCarthy acknowledged that a hard-fought compromise with Biden would not be “100% of what everybody wants” because he leads a slim House majority run by hard-right conservatives.
Facing a potential blowback from his conservative ranks, the Republican speaker will have to rely on half House Democrats and half House Republicans to pass the debt limit package.
Overall, the package is a tradeoff that would cut some spending for the next two years, with a suspension of the debt ceiling in January 2025, while pushing the volatile political issue ahead of the next presidential election. Raising the debt ceiling, now $31 trillion, would allow the Treasury to continue borrowing to pay the country’s already spent bills.
Additionally, policy issues are raising the most objections from MPs.
Liberal MPs fought hard but were unable to stop new work requirements for 50- to 54-year-olds who receive government food assistance and are otherwise able-bodied without dependents. Republicans sought stronger work requirements as part of the deal, but some say changes to the food stamp program are not enough.
Republicans were also pushing to raise work requirements for health care and other assistance; Biden refused to go along with them.
Questions are also being raised about an unexpected provision that essentially gives congressional approval to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas project critical of Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., that many Democrats and others oppose. Are.
At the same time, conservative Republicans, including those on the House Freedom Caucus, say the budget deficit is not enough to garner their support.
Rep. Bob Good, R-VA, tweeted, “No one can claim to be a conservative.”
This “deal” is madness,” Rep. Ralph Norman, R.S.C. “Won’t vote to bankrupt our country.”
All told, the package would essentially keep spending flat for the coming year, while allowing for increases on military and veterans’ accounts. This would cap the growth rate at 1% for 2025.
The House Rules Committee has three members from the influential Freedom Caucus, who may very well try to block the package from moving forward, forcing McCarthy to rely on Democrats on the panel to ensure the bill passes the House. Can be sent to the floor.
The House aims to vote on Wednesday and send the bill to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is working with McConnell for a quick passage by the end of the week.
Senators, who had largely remained on the sidelines during most of the negotiations between the President and the House Speaker, began to insert themselves more strongly into the debate.
Some senators on both the left and right are pushing for an amendment to reshape the package. This may require time-consuming debates which delay the final approval of the deal.
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is “extremely disappointed” by the provision authorizing the controversial Mountain Valley pipeline, his office said in a statement. He plans to file an amendment to remove the provision from the package.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina complained that the increase in military spending was not enough. He tweeted, “I will use all the power available to me in the Senate to get an amendment voted to undo this disaster for defense.”
But making any changes to the package at this stage seems highly improbable with so little time. Congress and the White House are racing to meet Monday’s deadline, now less than a week away. That’s when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US would run short of cash and face an unprecedented debt default without action.
A default would almost certainly crush the US economy and spread around the world, as the stability of the US dollar and the world’s reliance on the country’s leadership would come into question.