The debt ceiling deal brokered over Memorial Day weekend by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy “fails completely,” the chairman of the House’s most conservative caucus says.
“We’re here to let you and the American people know that Speaker McCarthy had a mandate from the American people—negotiated with a powerful negotiation position of a unified Republican Party, not only just in the House, but in the House and Senate—to hold the line for the bill that we passed,” Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters at a press conference.
“This deal that we’ve heard about totally fails to deliver on all of it,” Perry said.
McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters later Tuesday that he is confident the bill emerging from his deal with the president and Democrats will attract enough votes to pass.
Perry said of the Biden-McCarthy deal:
And if you want to get into the details, let’s just start with the IRS: 87,000 new IRS agents, all the billions of dollars. [So,] $1.4 billion cut, leaving the balance, the balance to be used by the IRS immediately, starting at this moment, continuing at this moment, continuing on for the duration of this presidency; $4 trillion at least. An unlimited debt ceiling increase. Unlimited. Unlimited debt ceiling and, oh, by the way, puts the incoming president, whether that’s Joe Biden or whether that’s a Republican, having to deal with it in a lame-duck session [after the 2024 elections]. Absolutely and completely unacceptable.
The House on April 27 passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which aims to “limit federal spending, save taxpayer dollars,” and “grow the economy.” Under McCarthy and the House GOP leadership, that legislation passed by a vote of 217-215, without a single vote from a Democrat.
Biden and McCarthy reached a deal Saturday on raising the debt ceiling. The resulting 99-page bill, called the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, aims to rescind roughly $30 billion of unspent COVID-19 relief funds, completely fund veterans medical care as proposed in the president’s budget for fiscal year 2024, and end the student loan repayment pause in late August, The Associated Press reported.
“The speaker himself has said on numerous occasions the greatest threat to America is our debt,” Perry said of McCarthy. “And now is the time to act. We had the time to act and this deal fails, fails completely, and that’s why these members and others will be absolutely opposed to the deal. And we will do everything in our power to stop it and end it now.”
The bill that emerged from the Biden-McCarthy deal also aims to suspend the debt limit until Jan. 1, 2025, keep nondefense spending “relatively flat” in fiscal year 2024, increase nondefense spending by 1% in fiscal year 2025, and accelerate completion of a natural gas pipeline in West Virginia called the Mountain Valley Pipeline, CNN reported.
Richard Stern, director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation, criticized the legislation, on which the House is expected to vote Wednesday. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
“The bill gives a two-year blank check to Joe Biden in exchange for promised but not guaranteed reductions in the growth rate of government,” Stern told The Daily Signal in a written statement. “This bill would preserve only about one-tenth of the upfront spending cuts promised by Limit, Save, Grow [Act], and would largely leave our nation on the path to economic calamity.”
When Biden provided an update Monday about the deal, a reporter asked whether the president is “confident” that the deal will pass both houses of Congress.
“Look, you know I never say I’m confident what the Congress is going to do,” Biden said on the South Lawn of the White House. “But I feel very good about it. I’ve spoken with a number of the members. I spoke to [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell. I spoke to a whole bunch of people. And it feels good. We’ll see when the vote starts.”
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