Debt Deal May Threaten McCarthy’s Speakership

National debt clock | Image by rblfmr

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s negotiating team struck a deal on Saturday to raise the debt ceiling, days before the country was forecast to go into default if a solution was not found. However, some obstacles still remain to finalize the agreement that currently exists in principle.

The news that negotiations had borne fruit was first announced by McCarthy himself.

“I just got off the phone with the president a bit ago. After he wasted time and refused to negotiate for months, we’ve come to an agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people,” the speaker tweeted.

Later that evening, McCarthy told reporters that he expected a vote on the bill to happen Wednesday, as reported by CBS News. The actual bill, called the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, was unveiled to the public on Sunday.

It appears that approval from the House will only come about via a fight. Members of the House Freedom Caucus, which represents the right flank of the GOP, have already voiced their opposition to the bill as currently constituted.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a member of the Freedom Caucus, did the media rounds decrying the bill. “I personally think this was a complete and total sellout of everything that we accomplished in January, everything that we did in the first Limit, Save, and Grow Act, and everything we accomplished with [border security bill] HR 2,” he told Glenn Beck, calling the deal “a betrayal.”

In a warning to McCarthy’s continued role as House speaker, Roy told Beck that if he could not kill the bill in committee or on the House floor during the expected Wednesday vote, “We’re gonna have to then regroup and figure out the whole leadership arrangement again.”

Echoing that sentiment was Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), another member of the Freedom Caucus, who reportedly told Politico that he was so disappointed with the deal McCarthy struck that he believes it could be grounds for removing him from the speaker role.

Still, another Republican congressman noted for being on the right wing of his party, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, signaled that he would support getting the bill — which he had a role in drafting — out of committee to be voted on by the entire House.

“The Republican controlled Rules Committee, of which I am a member, will ensure that legislators and the public will have three days to read the debt limit bill before Congress votes on it. Text was made available Sunday, so the House can vote Wednesday,” Massie tweeted on Monday.

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