House passes bipartisan debt ceiling compromise bill, sends legislation to Senate

“Is it everything I wanted? No. But sitting with one House, with a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic president who didn’t want to meet with us — I think we did pretty dang good for the American public.”

On Wednesday night, the Republican-controlled House passed the bi-partisan debt ceiling compromise legislation to raise the nation’s borrowing limit and cap future spending.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) Fiscal Responsibility Act, a debt ceiling deal made with President Joe Biden, was strongly criticized by both conservative Republicans and far-left Democrats passing 314 to 117 with 149 Republicans joining 165 Democrats to approve the bill.

More Democrats than Republicans voted in favor of the compromise legislation negotiated between Biden and McCarthy over the Memorial Day weekend with 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats opposing the bill with four members of the chamber not voting.

The House Freedom Caucus and House progressives opposed the compromise, with the Progressive Caucus previously asking Biden to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally by invoking the 14th Amendment.  

The 99-page bill to hold steady the country’s debt limit through 2025 will now go to the Senate with only five days before Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen estimate that the US government would run out of money and risk a possible federal default.

Originally, the Treasury Department had estimated the default date as June 1, before revising it last week to June 5. 

Last week, credit rating agency Fitch put the US on “negative watch” during the debt ceiling bill negotiations, cautioning that the nation’s AAA rating could be downgraded if a deal to raise the country’s debt ceiling was not achieved. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have both said they will support the legislation. If the bill passes the chamber, it could end up on Biden’s desk for signature by the end of the week. 

Earlier in the day, 158 Democrats and 29 Republicans voted against the rule to bring the legislation up for debate and a final vote in the House. The essential hurdle of approving the rules for debate of the legislation passed in a 241 to 187 vote with 52 Democrats joining to help 189 Republicans push the bill past the finish line. 

On Tuesday, the legislation had barely made it out of the Republican-controlled House Rules Committee in a 7-6 vote.

The measure would add approximately $4 trillion to the national debt, raising the federal debt ceiling to $31.4 trillion. It also limits non-defense discretionary spending to 1 percent annual growth, links some welfare benefits to work requirements, and cuts back billions of dollars in unspent COVID relief funds.

The legislation will also slice $136 billion in federal spending, including $1.4 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the nation’s debt will be reduced by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years due to the spending restrictions.

McCarthy told reporters after the vote “Tonight, we all made history,” stating that the vote accomplished something “no other Congress” has done, “spend less than we spent the year before.” 

The Speaker added, “Is it everything I wanted? No. But sitting with one House, with a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic president who didn’t want to meet with us — I think we did pretty dang good for the American public.”

Biden said in a statement, “This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing. I want to thank Speaker McCarthy and his team for negotiating in good faith as well as Leader Jeffries for his leadership.”
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