By Kate Scanlon
WASHINGTON (OSV News) — House Republicans on April 26 voted to pass House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s legislation to raise the debt ceiling through 2024 and cut government spending, but the bill is seen as dead on arrival in the Democratically-controlled Senate and is opposed by the White House.
The debt ceiling is a limit on the total amount of money that the federal government is authorized to borrow in order to fulfill its financial obligations. The nation could hit its current borrowing limit as soon as this summer.
If it were to be enacted, the House GOP package would raise the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit by an additional $1.5 trillion, but also implement spending cuts and policy changes sought by Republicans.
But President Joe Biden and Democrats argue the debt limit should be raised in a “clean” bill with no strings attached so the United States does not risk defaulting on its debt in the coming months.
With no chance of becoming law, House Republicans argued their bill will force Biden to negotiate with them. In a joint statement, McCarthy, as well as Majority Leader Steve Scalise, La., Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Minn., Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, N.Y., and Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington, Texas, said the House GOP “delivered a plan that will address the country’s debt crisis.”
“Our conference came together to pass the only plan in Washington that will tackle the debt ceiling, stop excessive federal spending and inflation, and put our country back on track for sustained economic growth,” the lawmakers said. “Today’s vote also sends a clear message to President Biden — continuing to ignore the problem is not an option. The president must come to the table to negotiate.”
McCarthy struggled in recent days to secure enough support within his party to pass the bill. Ultimately it passed 217-215, without a single vote to spare. Four Republicans — Reps. Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett and Matt Gaetz — voted in opposition alongside every Democrat.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said House Republicans “have passed a bill that cuts veterans’ health care, education, Meals on Wheels, and public safety, takes away health care from millions of Americans, and sends manufacturing jobs overseas while they fight to extend the Trump tax cuts for the wealthiest and profitable corporations.”
“President Biden will never force middle class and working families to bear the burden of tax cuts for the wealthiest, as this bill does,” Jean-Pierre said. “The president has made clear this bill has no chance of becoming law.”