As Democratic and Republican negotiators finalize an agreement to suspend the federal government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling in the coming days, McCarthy may find himself facing some behind-the-scenes challenges.
Rep. Chip Roy, a ranking member of the House Freedom Caucus, said on Twitter that “we will try” to prevent this deal from passing through the House. Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate criticized the time frame for the agreement and the provisions emanating from it.
A failure by Congress to deal with the self-imposed debt ceiling before June 5 could lead to a default that would shake financial markets and push the US into a deep recession.
The Republicans control the House of Representatives by 222 seats compared to 213 for the Democrats, while the Democrats control the Senate by 51 seats compared to 49 for the Republicans. Those margins mean that moderates on both sides will have to support the bill, since any compromise would almost certainly lose the support of the far-left and right-wing wings of each party.
Roy complained on Twitter Sunday that the deal would keep expanding the Internal Revenue Service through tax collection, which was passed when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.
Senator Lindsey Graham also expressed concern about the potential impact of the agreement on the US defense sector and Washington’s support for Ukraine.
“We don’t want to default, but we won’t support a deal that reduces the size of the Navy and prevents continued technology and weapons assistance to Ukraine,” Graham wrote on Twitter.
The agreement suspends the debt ceiling until January 2025, after the presidential elections in November 2024, in exchange for spending caps and cuts in government programmes.
Rep. Dan Bishop and other hawkish Republicans have sharply criticized details of the initial agreement that suggest Biden managed to delay several cost-cutting demands on Saturday, meaning McCarthy will likely struggle to get votes.
Progressive Democrats in both chambers said they would not support any deal that includes additional labor requirements. The sources say that this agreement adds work requirements to the food aid for those between the ages of 50 and 54.
According to sources familiar with the talks, the deal would boost spending on the military and veterans’ care while capping several other domestic programs.
Republicans reject Biden’s proposed tax increases, and neither party has shown a willingness to deal with fast-growing health and retirement programs that will cause debt to rise sharply in the coming years.
Several credit rating agencies have put the US under review for a possible downgrade, which would raise borrowing costs and undermine its position as the backbone of the global financial system.
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