The US Treasury reports that since 1960, the federal debt ceiling has been increased, modified, or extended 78 times by Congress. Since both houses are currently controlled by different political factions, this issue has been hotly debated in both the House and the Senate in recent weeks. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) were instrumental in getting their party’s budget plan through the House. But it has almost no chance of passing the Senate and landing on Vice President Joe Biden’s desk.
McCarthy Brings GOP Together To Pass Budget Bill
The Limit, Save, and Grow Act was approved by the House of Representatives on April 26 by a vote of 217 to 215. All Democrats and four Republicans voted against the bill. Budget cutbacks of $4.8 million are included in the plan, which also increases the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion. The following list of Republicans opposed the bill:
Ken Buck (R-CO)
Tim Burchett (R-TN)
Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
This vote marks the first time McCarthy was truly able to unify his party behind a bill since the tumultuous 15 rounds of voting it took to secure his election to replace then-outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
According to NBC News, Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) told reporters that this move “puts pressure on the Senate to come to the negotiating table.” However, Gaetz, an opponent of the bill, noted that while there are good aspects of the legislation, like “energy policy, regulatory reform, welfare-to-work requirements and less spending,” it still boosts US debt by $16 trillion over the next 10 years.
Key fiscal considerations are included in the legislation as well. The federal government would return unspent COVID relief monies, terminate financing for IRS enforcement, and halt former president Biden’s plan to eliminate student debt by reducing discretionary expenditure to 2022 levels. The bill would also impose additional work requirements on those who receive entitlements like Medicare but are otherwise eligible to work.
Biden Wants to See a Debt Ceiling Increase With No Strings Attached
After months of saying he wanted a “clean” budget plan without any demands attached to it, President Biden last talked in person with McCarthy on February 1. The speaker of the house, on the other hand, vowed to keep fighting for the American people and to put a stop to Democrats’ wasteful squandering of public funds.
White House communications director Ben LaBolt claimed that the House leader was responsible for arranging a deal that would hurt many Americans by, among other things, cutting funding for veteran’s healthcare services, reducing access to Meala on Wheels, ending healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, and outsourcing manufacturing jobs.
McCarthy celebrated this as a triumph in uniting his caucus despite the fact that Republicans know this is only the beginning of discussions with the White House.