On Tuesday speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy faced staunch opposition from members of the Freedom Caucus, who threatened to “book motion to vacate” over the debt ceiling deal.
McCarthy’s response came during a recent press conference, where he revealed his discussions with those members of the Freedom Caucus who were originally against the bill.
“I’ve talked to many about whether they’re for or against the bill. I’m not sure what in the bill people are concerned about,” McCarthy said, expressing confusion over the specific issues causing the opposition.
According to the House Majority leader, the deal proposes savings of a record $2.1 trillion, marking it as the most significant economic rescission in US history. It aims to pull back funds allocated to foreign powers such as China, while enforcing work requirements for welfare recipients.
McCarthy defends the debt deal:
"I'm not sure what in the bill people are concerned about. It is the largest savings of $2.1 trillion that we've ever had… I'm not quite sure where they're opposed."pic.twitter.com/tm5jUOBlrF
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) May 30, 2023
Other key features of the bill include an overhaul of environmental reviews to facilitate faster construction in the US and the implementation of PAYGO, a Trump-era executive order, to curb excessive government spending.
“Are they opposed to work requirements for welfare? Should someone continue to be able to sit on the couch, able-bodied, with no children and not be helped to find a job?” McCarthy questioned rhetorically.
Additionally, McCarthy addressed potential concerns about changes to the environmental review process. “Are we concerned about, for the first time, to be able to change the environmental review in 40 years, so we can build things in America faster?” he asked, highlighting the deal’s aim to expedite infrastructure development and job creation in the US.
In his remarks, McCarthy also defended the bill’s intent to execute PAYGO, a budget rule requiring new spending to be offset with either budget cuts or revenue increases. This action would limit the current president’s ability to increase federal spending unilaterally. “Now, if people are against saving all that money, or work reforms and welfare reform, I can’t do anything about that,” McCarthy concluded, suggesting that his opponents’ concerns may be out of sync with the bill’s fiscal responsibility goals.
The Freedom Caucus, known for its conservative leanings, has threatened to vacate the Speaker’s chair given the severe rift within the Republican party, foreshadowing potential difficulties for McCarthy as he attempts to maintain unity and pass this controversial bill.
The coming weeks will undoubtedly be closely watched as this political drama unfolds, potentially setting the stage for significant changes in the House’s leadership and legislative agenda.
On Tuesday Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), a member of The Freedom Caucus, openly voiced his dissent over the debt ceiling deal struck between Joe Biden and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Bishop passionately criticized the deal, disputing the purported financial estimates, the details of the Inflation Reduction Act, and other economic matters.
During an interview with Steve Bannon, Rep. Bishop questioned the economic impact and the projected figures involved in the agreement. He specifically pointed out that the forecasted four trillion dollars could potentially escalate, questioning the focus on green energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Bishop cited an estimate by Goldman Sachs stating that the cost would be approximately $279-$297 billion. However, he asserted, “The cost of that is wrong, is to be more than one point two trillion.”
Further, Bishop expressed concerns about the alleged fast-tracking of ‘permitting improvements’ to expedite green energy initiatives, doubting the credibility of the process.
The most heated portion of Bishop’s address occurred when he critically examined the IRS agent expansion provision. Rep. Bishop insisted that the claims made by Minority Leader McCarthy about ‘nixing’ the IRS agent expansion were “not just misleading…it’s factually false.”
According to Bishop, the bill will not simply take off $1.4 billion from the proposed $80 billion appropriations for the IRS as suggested by McCarthy, but would leave $78.6 billion available for the agency. The language of the bill, he said, does nothing to restrict IRS staffing levels and the agency could spend all they wanted immediately.
Bishop ended his speech by urging Republicans not only to vote against the bill but to understand that this vote is career-defining for every Republican. He lamented the misinformation presented, stating, “It’s not just that every Republican should vote against this. It’s a little bit more than that. This is a career-defining vote for every Republican.”
Dan Bishop makes the stakes clear:
"This is a career defining vote for every Republican."pic.twitter.com/cKMYQ0FEcs
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) May 30, 2023
Critics of the Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling agreement have applauded Bishop’s vehement stand, while proponents of the deal argue that it’s a necessary compromise to avoid a potentially disastrous government default. This remains a contentious issue within the Republican Party.
Biden and McCarthy reached an agreement to temporarily suspend the U.S. debt ceiling and cap some federal spending to prevent a U.S. debt default. The deal would suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling until Jan. 1, 2025, allowing the U.S. government to pay its bills. In exchange, non-defense discretionary spending would remain largely at current-year levels in 2024.
The debt limit extension lasts past 2024, which means that Congress would not need to address the polarizing issue again until after the November 2024 presidential election. However, discussions on how to allocate money under the new spending caps will need to take place in Congress this year.
Notably, the deal would increase total defense spending to $886 billion, in line with Biden’s 2024 budget spending proposal, which represents a 3% increase from the $858 billion allocated in the current budget for the Pentagon and other defense-related programs.
Republicans secured a budgeting mechanism known as “Paygo,” short for pay-as-you-go, which stipulates that new government agency actions affecting revenues and spending should be offset by savings. However, the law would give Biden’s budget director the opportunity to issue waivers to that requirement and it would also limit judicial review of the decisions.