House Speaker Kevin McCarthy celebrated the passage of a debt ceiling agreement that earned more votes from Democrats than Republicans and gives President Biden two years to continue borrowing money.
The deal was rescued by Democrats after 71 conservative Republicans voted against the legislation.
Those opposed claim the package does not cut spending at an acceptable level, will actually add $4 trillion to the debt, and represented a cave to the White House.
Readers will recall that the Republican House controls the purse strings, not the Democrat-controlled Senate or White House.
The bill allows for $886 billion in national security spending, which is in line with President Biden’s budget request. It caps it at $895 billion the following year, a one percent increase and only considered a “cut” technically when factoring in inflation.
The deal does end the pause on student loan repayments but does not rescind Biden’s student loan bailout. It implements work requirements for welfare, but those requirements are a pared-down version of what conservatives really wanted.
And it cuts $21.9 billion from the IRS, though a vast majority of the cuts won’t occur until 2024 and 2025 and it only slightly offsets the additional $80 billion in funding Democrats provided the department during the last Congress.
Republicans control the House yet the Debt Ceiling bill just passed with more Democrat votes than Republican votes
Infuriating weakness pic.twitter.com/LnC22nTsam
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) June 1, 2023
More Democrats Vote for Debt Ceiling Agreement Than Republicans
As with any negotiation, there are some clear positives and negatives for both sides to celebrate. But if you want to know who really won the debt ceiling fight, just look at which party supported the effort more.
The bill passed in a 314-117 vote that saw majorities in both parties in favor, but 149 Republicans voted in the affirmative while 165 Democrats approved the deal.
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That’s a bit disproportionate considering Republicans have the majority. And, some would say, the fact that you’re even negotiating with Democrats knowing they would never negotiate with the GOP if they had a majority is another sign of weakness.
Still, Speaker McCarthy couldn’t help but gloat over the deal.
“This is fabulous,” he beamed. “This is one of the best nights I’ve ever been here.”
165 Democrats seemingly agree.
This is fabulous —> Democrats are now officially on record in support of:
– Work requirements for welfare
– Slashing IRS funding
– Cutting spending
So you can be sure I’m coming back for more. pic.twitter.com/yaSPk1FnAY
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 1, 2023
Also celebrating the debt ceiling deal was Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who praised his caucus for pushing back “Republican efforts to jam right-wing cuts down the throats of the American people.”
“From the very beginning, House Democrats were clear that we will not allow extreme MAGA Republicans to default on our debt, crash the economy or trigger a job-killing recession,” he said.
“Under the leadership of President Joe Biden, Democrats kept our promise,” Jeffries added.
Does that sound like someone who lost in the negotiations? Like someone who is distraught that Republicans had secured a “fabulous” victory for the American people?
McCarthy needed Hakeem Jeffries and the Democrats.pic.twitter.com/pibpbHoMLl
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) June 1, 2023
Giving Biden two years without any debt ceiling worries prompted MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell to declare the deal as “a win for Democrats” as he claimed McCarthy “gave up.”
“More Democrats supported this bill than Republicans because this was a win for Democrats. That’s what it was,” he opined.
Lawrence O’Donnell said the bill, which 149 Republicans voted to pass, was “a win for Democrats”
“Kevin McCarthy gave up… McCarthy gave President Biden two full years on the debt ceiling”https://t.co/E55taYBIdB
— Charlie Nash (@CharlieNash) June 1, 2023
In that aspect, the debt ceiling agreement is reminiscent of this past January when Republican senators voted in favor of a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that was passed within days of a Republican majority taking control of the House.
That bill kicked the can down the road as well, abdicating the power of the purse for the new GOP-led House until September of 2023.
The Political Insider reported, during the House Speakership fight, that there were some concerning stories about McCarthy that gave us pause about his abilities to effectively fill the role.
Part of that involved concerns about his ability to negotiate fiscally with the Democrats or even centrist Republicans, highlighting the fact that he had promised Ukraine would no longer be the benefactor of a “blank check” from the United States government before meekly walking back the statement.
Since then he has insisted the United States, “we,” must win the war in Ukraine.
On the positive side, he did hold firm in his promise to oust Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from their committee assignments.
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