House Passes Debt Limit Deal

Speaker Kevin McCarthy | Image by Consolidated News Photos

8:29 p.m. Wednesday

The House voted 314-117 Wednesday night to approve a bipartisan debt-ceiling plan to avoid a June 5 default, capping negotiations in the last week between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

More Democrats (165) supported the bill than Republicans (149).

The deal suspends the nation’s debt limit through Jan. 1, 2025. It expands work requirements for some welfare recipients and caps non-defense spending.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said he was surprised 29 Republicans voted against letting the plan go for a full vote of the House earlier Wednesday.

“The American people are concerned with responsible members of the Congress preventing a dangerous default, supporting the tremendous leadership of President Biden and stopping extreme MAGA Republicans from crashing the economy. That’s exactly what House Democrats did today, and bailed out the majority from their own extremism,” he said.

The bill will move quickly to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have said they want to have a vote as early as Thursday.

If 60 of the 100 senators favor the legislation, it will go to Biden for his signature.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) have announced they will vote no.

Sanders said in a statement: “At a time of massive wealth and income inequality I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a bill that takes vital nutrition assistance away from women, infants, children, and seniors, while refusing to ask billionaires who have never had it so good to pay a penny more in taxes.”

Merkley said in a statement: “Since the text of this legislation was released, I have immersed myself in the details and listened carefully to everyone’s points of view. I appreciate the diversity of opinion within the Congress and within my own caucus. Still, I cannot in good conscience vote for this bill.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen earlier said the federal government will run out of money to pay its debts on June 5, bringing on a default, without an extension of the debt ceiling.

Noon Wednesday

One of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s top lieutenants said Wednesday that enough Republicans will vote for the debt-ceiling bill for it to pass.

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was a guest on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” saying Republicans did not get everything they wanted in negotiations with President Joe Biden and Democrats. But he said they got enough to keep the government from defaulting.

“I think we have the votes to pass it, and I think that will project confidence to Americans that we’ll get things done,” McHenry said. “Look, you said it, in a negotiation, you’re not gonna get everything you want. And we didn’t get everything we wanted, the House Republicans.”

“We don’t have the majority in the Senate, and Joe Biden is certainly not a Republican, so we had a really tough negotiation, but we had good conservative wins,” he added.

Some Texas congressmen have expressed their opposition, including U.S. Rep. Chip Roy from Austin.

“We were a unified Republican Party standing up for the things we actually run on, actually trying to change this place, actually trying to secure the border,” Roy told reporters Tuesday, according to a Texas Tribune report. “Unfortunately last week, there was a breach.”

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