Leading the GOP charge against the compromise, which would suspend the debt limit until January 2025 in exchange for various restraints on spending, was the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which views the agreement as being too watered down. Their opposition, if it holds, means a bipartisan vote will be necessary for passage as Republicans hold a narrow majority in the lower chamber.
“This deal fails, fails completely,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. “We will do everything in our power to stop it and end it now,” he also said.
⚠️ DEBT CEILING DEAL: "Not one Republican should vote for this deal. It is a bad deal. No one sent us here to borrow an additional $4 trillion to get absolutely nothing in return." @RepChipRoy #ampFW pic.twitter.com/T5lHIWpKRQ
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) May 30, 2023
“Not one Republican should vote for this deal,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), another member of the group. “No one sent us here to borrow an additional $4 trillion to get absolutely nothing in return,” he added.
Roy said McCarthy’s deal with the White House “at best, if I’m being really generous” offers “a spending freeze for a couple years.”
A third member opposed to the deal, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), put his fellow GOP colleagues on notice. “This is a career-defining vote for every Republican,” he said.
Bishop also floated the use of the motion to vacate the chair. Under the current House rules, only one member is required to force a vote that could remove the speaker, however, a simple majority is needed for it to succeed.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the text of which is available online, arose out of an “agreement in principle” reached between President Joe Biden and McCarthy over the weekend after weeks of negotiations. The legislation faces its first major test in the House Rules Committee on Tuesday where already dozens of amendments have been offered by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Barring any surprise hold-ups in the rules panel, a full House vote could happen as soon as Wednesday. At least 20 Republicans have rejected the deal, according to CNBC, which means several Democrats will need to get on board for the compromise to advance if the GOP holdouts do not change their stance.
While there has been some dismay voiced within leftist circles about the agreement, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said on Tuesday that Democrats will be watching whether the GOP can muster at least 150 votes, which would be about two-thirds of their conference. “Democrats are committed to making sure that we do our part and avoid a default,” he added, per CNN.
If the legislation passes the lower chamber, the bill also needs to be approved by the Democrat-led Senate before reaching Biden for a signature. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he supports the bipartisan agreement between the White House and McCarthy.
Leaders in Congress have been scrambling to come up with a deal as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued multiple warnings about how the United States may not be able to meet all its financial obligations as early as the first part of June.
The Treasury Department said it has been enacting “extraordinary measures” since earlier this year when the United States hit its statutory limit of roughly $31.4 trillion, and has warned of dire economic consequences if the country is unable to reach a deal to lift the debt ceiling.
Certain House Republicans, including Cory Mills (R-FL) and Russell Fry (R-SC), lamented the apparent death of the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, a bill the GOP-led House passed last month that would allow the limit to be lifted by $1.5 trillion in exchange for spending cuts and reforms, in favor of a thinned-out compromise.
Perry tweeted out a comparison graph which described McCarthy’s agreement with Biden as a “‘deal’ with the Swamp.”
— RepScottPerry (@RepScottPerry) May 30, 2023
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said she did not “come to Congress to rubber-stamp bankrupting our country,” and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) called out what he described as a “crap deal that’s going to put you more in debt with no real changes whatsoever.”
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said the debt ceiling agreement would be “a wash, spending-wise” because the “small cut” to discretionary spending will be eclipsed by “large increases in spending elsewhere.”