Major Congressional Leaders Signal Support for Debt Ceiling Bill Despite Backlash

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
May 29, 2023Congressshare

All major congressional leaders have signaled their support for Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) debt ceiling deal despite backlash from members of both parties.

On May 27, after a months-long standoff, McCarthy announced that he and President Joe Biden had reached “an agreement in principle” to raise the debt ceiling “that’s worthy of the American people.” In addition to raising the debt ceiling, the bill would cap non-defense spending at its previous levels, enhance work requirements for government assistance, and reclaim unspent COVID-19 relief funds, among other measures.

Since then, most congressional leaders have signaled support for the deal, dubbed the Fiscal Responsibility Act, even as it faces criticism from both the left and the right.

For progressives like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the package is too right-wing.

The right-wing of the GOP, likewise, has decried the deal as a “surrender” to the left, saying it concedes too much to Democrats.

The House Freedom Caucus, a powerful force in the House GOP, has also signaled it’s against the deal.

Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), among others, have each said they won’t support the package.

But despite bipartisan discontent with the package, major congressional leaders have each signaled their support for it.

McCarthy, who led GOP negotiations with Democrats on the package, said of the measure “there’s so much in this that’s positive.”

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), GOP House Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), and Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) called it “a historic series of wins” in a statement.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was noncommittal. However, he suggested that the bill would be instrumental in “avoiding a catastrophic default,” and suggested he expects Democrat support for the package.

Reports also claim that Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the former House majority whip, has been rallying support for the package behind-the-scenes.

The package has also won the support of the two top leaders in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised Biden for negotiating an end to the stalemate, telling the Senate to prepare for a potential weekend vote.

“I salute President Biden for protecting the American economy and delivering for American families by taking the threat of default off the table,” Schumer said in a letter to other senators.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed the sentiment.

“The Senate must act swiftly and pass this agreement without unnecessary delay,” McConnell said in a May 28 statement, possibly warning others in his conference against trying to slow the bill with procedural delays.

With such a broad cross-section of support from key congressional leaders, the package seems set to breeze through Congress.

Biden has said he has little concern that the package won’t end up on his desk.

According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, that will need to happen by June 5, which she called a “hard” deadline to avoid a default.

From The Epoch Times

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