Amid deep resentment among Republicans that the spending restrictions don’t go far enough, McCarthy said it’s just a “first step.”
WASHINGTON – Away from a default crisis, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed Debt ceiling and budget cut packagesend the agreement that President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated to the Senate for swift approval in a matter of days, before a very close deadline.
The arduous compromise has pleased some, but lawmakers see it as better than the alternative — a devastating economic upheaval if Congress doesn’t act. Tensions ran high as hard-line Republicans rejected the deal, but Biden and McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition to push through with 314-117 votes late on Wednesday. Private.
“We did pretty well,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said afterward.
Amid deep discontent from Republicans, who say that spending restrictions didn’t go far enoughThis is just the “first step,” McCarthy said.
Biden, who is watching the vote count from Colorado Springs, where he is scheduled to deliver his inaugural address at the US Air Force Academy on Thursday, phoned McCarthy and other congressional leaders after the meeting. vote. In a statement, he called the results “good news for the American people and the American economy.”
Washington is rushing after a long debate to finish work on the bailout to ensure the government can continue to pay its bills, and prevent financial fluctuations at home and abroad. Next Monday is when the Treasury said America will be short of money and risk of dangerous default.
Biden directly appealed to lawmakers for support. McCarthy worked to convince Republicans to be skeptical, even against challenges to his leadership.
A similar bipartisan effort from Democrats and Republicans will be needed in the Senate to overcome opposition.
Overall, 99 pages long invoice will make some strides in containing the nation’s deficit as Republicans demand, without rolling back the Trump-era tax cuts as Biden wants. To get it through, Biden and McCarthy count on support from the center of politics, a rarity in divided Washington.
A compromise, a package to limit spending for the next two years, suspend the debt ceiling in January 2025 and change several policies, including imposing New job requirements for older Americans receiving food aid And green light for an Appalachian natural gas line which many Democrats oppose. It strengthens funds for defense and veterans, and give new money to agents Internal Revenue Service.
Raising the nation’s debt limit, currently $31 trillion, ensures the Treasury can borrow to pay off U.S. debt incurred.
The GOP’s top deal negotiator, Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, said Republicans are fighting for budget cuts after years of extra spending, first during the COVID-19 crisis and then with Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, whose historic investment in fighting climate change is paid for with revenue elsewhere.
But Republican Representative Chip Roy, a member of the Freedom Caucus that helps lead the opposition, said: “The most important thing to me is that you cut a deal that shouldn’t have been cut.”
For weeks, negotiators worked late into the night to reach a deal with the White House, and for days McCarthy worked to build support among skeptics. At one point, aides brought pizza to the Capitol on the eve of voting day as he guided Republicans through details, asked questions, and encouraged them to ignore their budget savings. book of the bill.
The speaker faced a tough crowd. Cheered by conservative senators and outside groups, the hardline House Freedom Caucus has criticized compromise as insufficient. necessary spending cutsand they vowed to try to stop the passage.
A much larger conservative faction, the Republican Research Committee, declined to take the position. Even moderate conservatives whose ranks and files are uncertain, prompting McCarthy to seek votes from his slim Republican majority.
Ominously conservatives have warned of a possible attempt to oust McCarthy over compromise.
One influential Republican, former President Donald Trump, refrained: “It is so,” he said of the deal in an interview with Iowa radio host Simon Conway.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said McCarthy could put the Republican votes in the 435-member chamber, where 218 votes were needed for approval.
When the tally fell through in the afternoon procedural vote, Jeffries stood silent and held up his green voting card, signaling that the Democrats would fill the void to secure passage. . They did, pushing a bill that far-right Republicans, many from the Freedom Caucus, refused to support.
“What does that say about this Republican MAGA majority?” he spoke of the party affiliated with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” political movement.
Then, on the final vote a few hours later, Democrats once again secured passage, leading the count as 71 Republicans won a majority and voted against.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the spending restrictions in the package would reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the decade, a top target for Republicans trying to limit the debt burden.
However, in a surprise that complicated Republican support, the CBO said its effort was to impose job requirements for older Americans receiving food stamps will ultimately drive spending by an additional $2.1 billion over the period. That’s because the final deal exempts veterans and the homeless, extending food stamps to 78,000 people a month, the CBO said.
However, libertarian discontent increased sharply when nearly four dozen Democrats also broke away, criticizing new job requirements for older Americans, who are 50-54 years old, in the food aid program.
Some Democrats were also angered as the White House negotiated a deal to change the landmark National Environmental Policy Act and approve the controversial natural gas project Mountain Valley Pipeline. Energy development is important to Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., but many others oppose it, arguing that it does nothing to combat climate change.
On Wall Street, Share prices fell on Wednesday.
In the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell are working to pass it by the end of the week.
Schumer has warned that “there is no room for error.”
The senators, who have remained largely on the sidelines for much of the negotiations, are insisting on amendments to reshape the stimulus package. But making any changes at this stage seems unlikely as there is so little time to spare before the Monday deadline.
AP White House correspondent Zeke Miller, AP writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Seung Min Kim and Jill Colvin, and video journalist Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.