On Wednesday, House Republicans backed a measure to significantly reduce federal spending and extend the debt ceiling until early next year. The next stop for the measure will be the Senate, where this is sure to spark opposition from Democrats.
By a vote of 217 to 215, with no Democrats in favor, the Limit, Save, and Grow Act of 2023 was enacted. GOP Representatives Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Tim Burchett (KY), and Ken Buck (CO) all bolted.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may now use the bill’s approval as leverage to negotiate spending cuts with President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling.
To paraphrase McCarthy: “We can’t just do nothing about the problem like the president has.” We’d like to have a seat. This measure allows us to have productive conversations that will help us work together.
Since the United States may hit its debt ceiling as early as this summer, the law is a response to that possibility. If Congress and Biden don’t move to freeze or raise the country’s borrowing ceiling, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned, “economic catastrophe” would result.
Biden and Schumer have been advocating for what they call a “clean” raise in the debt ceiling, one that does not include the budget cutbacks that Republicans in the House are demanding.
CBO estimates that the Limit, Save, and Grow Act, the Republicans’ most recent proposal, will save $4.8 trillion over the next decade.
Vice President Joe Biden, who has stated that he will veto the law, mocked House Republicans for saying that the president has been “missing in action” during negotiations only hours before the bill was ultimately enacted.
“They haven’t figured out the debt limit yet,” Biden said. I’d be glad to get down with McCarthy, but not to debate whether or not the debt ceiling should be lifted. That’s out of the question.
The House is quite tight in terms of party affiliation, therefore the passage of this bill was crucial for Republicans. Now that the House GOP is standing unified on a plan to extend the debt ceiling, however, support for Biden and Schumer’s position is eroding.
According to Louisiana Republican Representative Mike Johnson, who is in the leadership, “I think part of their plan was to try to call our bluff.” was quoted in Breitbart News. They doubted our ability to succeed, making today’s actions all the more significant and symbolic.
The plan has several conservative aims and extends the debt ceiling till the beginning of next year.
Limiting discretionary spending growth to 1% per year for ten years, eliminating recent funding for the IRS, and provisions of the “Inflation Reduction Act” that deal with climate change are all part of the plan, as is halting Vice President Biden’s plan to help people with their student loans.
It took a lot of effort from McCarthy, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), and the other leaders to get everyone on board with the plan.
Despite Emmer’s efforts to garner support for the bill throughout the month of February, more than a half dozen Republican senators expressed concerns or outright rejected it in the days leading up to the vote.
Several members of congress voiced opposition to the bill, including Burchett, who was upset that leadership didn’t show up to a meeting with him, and Gaetz and Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who had been in trouble before, who didn’t like the part about requiring welfare recipients to work. The current debt stands at $31 trillion.
Even on the day of the vote, House Freedom Caucus leader and Republican from Pennsylvania Scott Perry seemed uncertain about the bill. He declared his support for the bill after it was amended in the Rules Committee early on Wednesday morning.
Even while the law isn’t perfect, Perry called it “a huge step.”
GOP leaders were certain that the package would pass despite the fact that there were defectors and missed votes that might have killed it. All week, McCarthy’s office was a hub of activity as worried constituents sought reassurance from the speaker.
Schumer has already assured his party that the legislation will be killed in the Senate. He refers to it as the “Default on America Act” and claims it will cause “Americans to accept either a punch to the gut or a blow to the head.”
The party leader hasn’t indicated any willingness to cooperate with House Republicans up to this time.
The law is a threat to the American people that a horrible default awaits them if they do not support the radical, right-wing strategy of the Republicans. According to Schumer, “The Democrats won’t let it happen.”