Saturday, April 1, 2023

Kevin McCarthy and House GOP discuss debt ceiling demands ahead of Biden meeting


Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his Republican allies in the House are laying out their initial demands Raise the cap on the national debt Debate deep cuts to domestic programs and reduce defense spending Two programs to always avoid voter backlash: Medicare and Social Security.

As he prepares for his first one-on-one meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, McCarthy is seeking the advice of key players in his briefings, even as White House officials say they are seeking But will not negotiate with Republicans in the chamber. Of Congress. Raise the debt ceiling to $31.4 trillion and avoid a possible first debt default this summer.

For McCarthy, the challenge will be balancing the interests of House Republicans. Eager to use their influence to reach an agreement with Democrats to implement priorities neglected by the White House and Senate—on the debt ceiling—but without yielding to their demands. Pending everything: a member’s ability to vote to oust McCarthy as president.

It’s a recipe that some fear could bring the country to the brink of a catastrophic default, especially as some positions against raising the cap seem insurmountable.

“No,” said the monk. Greg Pence, a Republican from Indiana, asked by CNN whether he would vote for an increase in the debt ceiling if it included “all” priorities. “That’s what I listen to at home.”

While McCarthy hasn’t stuck to any individual plans and is unlikely to make a specific proposal at Wednesday’s meeting, he and other House Republicans have completely rejected the White House position, which, despite three pauses, has aims to increase the loan limit without While President Donald Trump aims to pay bills that have already been paid.

“I don’t think (Biden) wants to be reckless and childish and sit down and have a conversation, especially when you think about the change in our country’s economy,” McCarthy told reporters on Monday. “So here we have a timetable, let’s sit down and not play political games. We both know we have to do something and figure out where to save the American people.

Privately, Republicans have offered a variety of ideas in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, including cutting domestic spending in fiscal 2019 and cutting defense programs to 2023 spending levels that they say According to budget experts, the Republican source is $1.7 trillion. in the next decade.

But Democrats see those cuts as draconian, and some Republicans say they don’t go far enough.

While House Republicans seek to strengthen their bargaining hand with the White House, by uniting around a plan, it will be easier to get a conference-wide consensus on spending cuts. Republican headlines vowing to protect defense programs and GOP moderates fighting to cut popular domestic spending programs could all be easy prey for Democratic attack ads.

“There will always be some people who vote ‘no’ on everything. So expect those people to be there,” said Rep. Nancy Mayes, R-South Carolina. “That is why it is important to have a conversation. We are a divided Congress and we have to work like this.

Speaking to CBS on Sunday, McCarthy promised to “take Social Security and Medicare programs off the table.” And he left open the possibility of cuts to defense programs: “I want to make sure we’re safe in our defense spending, but I want to make sure it’s effective and efficient.”

By avoiding cuts to entitlement programs, Republicans cannot achieve the level of deficit savings that conservatives want.

In fact, Social Security accounted for about 21 percent of the $5.8 trillion spent by the federal government last fiscal year, while health care programs like Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Affordable Care Act subsidies accounted for about 25 percent. % share. The budget, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The rest of the budget goes to discretionary domestic projects, including 13% for defense and national security.

“Hell no,” said the representative. Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican and member of the Freedom Caucus, when asked about potential rights cuts.

Behind the scenes, Republicans are urging McCarthy to take a tougher stand against the White House.

The 20 House Republicans who initially voted against McCarthy for president are expected to play a key role in the debate after the speaker made the debt ceiling a focus of talks. As part of those talks, McCarthy indicated he would not agree to “continuing tax reforms” or an increase in the debt ceiling without a budget deal, according to a slideshow obtained by CNN.

A member of the talks said the Conservatives met Friday morning and Monday to discuss ideas for spending cuts that could achieve a balanced budget within 10 years, and to outline their vision in the coming weeks. Huye is planning to publish a map.

Texas Rep. Group leaders such as Chip Roy have continued to communicate with McCarthy, and the group wants to meet with Republican leaders and House Budget Chair Jody Arrington of Texas.

Even hardline conservatives say they do not plan to propose cuts to Social Security or Medicare, something Trump has urged Republicans not to do, emphasizing his plan only on the discretionary side of spending. is concentrated.

Representative Ralph Norman of South Carolina, a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, told CNN, “We will have a plan for what we’re going to fight for.” “Don’t touch Social Security, don’t touch Medicare… Each agency is looked at on its own merits. Let’s issue this to the American people. and surprise people. … I think people will like what they see.”

Kentucky Rep. Moderate-leaning Republican Thomas Massey acknowledged that cuts to entitlement programs would be impossible in the Senate.

“It’s a big deal,” Massey told reporters. “What can be done here to pass the Senate and be signed by the President? Why start a debate when there is no positive outcome and let people destroy what you are trying to do?”

Still, GOP defense hawks and incumbents vow to protect defense spending, which keeps money on the discretionary side of the budget.

As McCarthy tries to forge a convention-wide consensus on what he will propose in return for raising the nation’s debt ceiling, some property owners admit they will be exhausted during the debate.

“We will send (spending numbers first) to our subcommittee because I will either be a beneficiary or a victim,” Rep. Chuck Fleishman of Tennessee, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, told CNN. , “I would be directly affected.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m worried, but I’m watching the process and we’ll adjust accordingly,” he added.

To further complicate matters, some Republicans, including Pence, Reps. Tim Burchett of Tennessee and Andy Biggs of Arizona have indicated they will not raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances.

However, other Republicans disagreed.

“I think everyone is on the ‘can’t stop paying’ side. The overall trust and credit of the country is important, very important,” said Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, a member of the House Budget Committee. To say that we are going to raise the debt limit without any spending control is not an acceptable outcome.”

In his quest to become speaker, McCarthy promised to introduce a bill in late March that would tell the Treasury Department to prioritize payments if the debt limit is exceeded, essentially an emergency plan.

Massey said that one idea he advocates is to pass a continuing resolution “as soon as possible” that would finance the government at 99% of its current levels and tie it to an increase in the debt ceiling so that they would have a backup. Have a plan No agreement could be reached on the debt ceiling or government funding.

“I want us to have the adults in the room. We have two things that could be a crisis,” Massey told reporters. “Take it off the table. … It gives you time and space, and it takes the pressure off you.

Also looking at other possible contingency plans. The House’s bipartisan problem-solving committee is working on a proposal to set an acceptable ratio of US debt to the country’s GDP and plan budget cuts if it exceeds that level. The committee is consulting budget experts to help prepare the proposal.

Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican who participated in the effort, said his plan would suffer a setback if talks between the White House and McCarthy failed.

“Everyone has to be committed,” Fitzpatrick said.

Nation World News Desk
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