On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that an agreement had been reached with the White House after stalled negotiations and uncompromising sticking points threatened the United States to go into default by June 5. McCarthy declared victory, calling the deal “worthy of the American people” and highlighting policy objectives that Republicans secured including, “historic reductions in spending…no new taxes, no new government programs.”
Then, a backlash ensued. The House Freedom Caucus tweeted on Saturday, calling the agreement “Unacceptable.”
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Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) posted to social media alluding that the deal would spark a proverbial “war” within the GOP, writing:
If [the] Speaker’s negotiators bring back in substance a clean debt limit increase … one so large that it even protects Biden from the issue in the presidential …, it’s war.
In other social media posts, Rep. Bishop used the vomiting emoji and the clown face emoji while condemning the deal.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) tweeted that the deal was “insanity,” adding that he would not be supporting the legislation:
Not gonna vote to bankrupt our country. The American people deserve better.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) made several posts with criticisms on social media, with one succinct post saying, “+ $4 trillion. No.” Roy also called the debt ceiling deal a “turd sandwich.”
+ $4 trillion. No.
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) May 28, 2023
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) retweeted a post from Rep. Roy and captioned it, “With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?” In other posts, the Senator wrote that, “Punting at your opponent’s one-yard line isn’t a winning strategy,” and that the “Promise of *future* spending cuts = fake.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) joined the chorus of opposition, tweeting that conservatives had been “sold out”:
Fake conservatives agree to fake spending cuts. Deal will increase mandatory spending ~5%, increase military spending ~3%, and maintain current non-military discretionary spending at post-COVID levels. No real cuts to see here. Conservatives have been sold out once again!
While conceding that the bill “doesn’t get everything everybody wanted,” Speaker McCarthy spoke to reporters outside his Capitol Hill office on Sunday saying that he expects House Democrats to join in voting for the bill’s passage. Speaker McCarthy said:
I think people will look back and say, ‘Well I didn’t get exactly what I wanted.’ But there’s something in here that — it shouldn’t be about you, it should be about America. America believes that we have spent too much, so this spends less.
The House Speaker doesn’t expect a unified GOP to back the bill, saying he believed that a “majority” of Republicans would support the bill in Congress’s lower chamber:
This is a good, strong bill that a majority of Republicans will vote for.
But, the Speaker does intend to pick up some Democrat member’s votes, with the president’s support of the package, saying:
I expect his party to be supportive as well.
While anticipating bipartisan support, McCarthy conveyed dissatisfaction from House Democrats, including Minority Speaker Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), saying:
Right now the Democrats are very upset, but one thing Hakeem told me: there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats.
Rep. Jeffries responded saying he “had no idea” what McCarthy was talking about because he had only heard of an agreement in principle and had not seen the bill’s language.
In response to the criticism among conservatives that the bill has received, McCarthy said:
Well, that’s okay because more than 95 percent of all those in the conference were very excited. But think about this, we finally were able to cut spending. We’re the first Congress to vote for cutting spending year over year.
If you look at each movement here, this is a whole new direction. Just think about how this even came to fruition. Normally you have 1,000-page bill, this is going to be less than 150 pages. Normally, the country doesn’t know about it until after it’s passed. Now, we’ll wait 72 hours. This is worthy of the American people. I want them to read it. I want them to understand it.
Both President Biden and Speaker McCarthy have celebrated the agreement as a success. Policy highlights include a two-year increase in the debt ceiling instead of a specific monetary amount, the elimination of budget caps beyond 2025, and changes to work requirements for some government assistance programs.
The House speaker continues to double down on what he sees as a victory for Republicans and the American public, telling reporters on Sunday:
We were able to do this when the president said he wasn’t even going to talk to us, this is really a step in the right direction. That puts us [at] a trajectory that’s different. We put a statutory cap on only spending 1 percent for the next six years. So we let government grow but at a slower rate.
McCarthy stated that he would speak to Biden later on Sunday to finalize the language of the bill. Once finalized, the text will be made available to the public, initiating a 72-hour period that McCarthy previously committed to House members so they can read the bill before casting their votes. The House vote is expected on Wednesday.