Republicans Pass Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling, Cut Spending

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On Wednesday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the Republicans’ bill to raise the debt ceiling, which cuts spending and repeals significant portions of President Biden’s domestic agenda. This move is pushing the Democratic Party to negotiate with the GOP over spending reductions, or else the US government may face an enormous debt default.

The legislation is a way for Republicans to strengthen their negotiating position against Biden. It freezes spending at 2020 levels for ten years, cuts spending by nearly 14%, and reduces Biden’s landmark health, climate, and tax laws. It also imposes work requirements on social programs while expanding mining and fossil fuel production.

Although Biden threatened to veto the bill, the Republicans viewed the bill’s approval as a crucial step towards their cause. Speaker Kevin McCarthy put a lot of effort into gathering enough votes to pass the bill. He cobbled together the votes along party lines with a 217-215 vote margin. Republicans who are usually against raising the debt limit came together under party leaders, who urged them to unite around the bill to force Biden to negotiate.

McCarthy cast the bill as a way to bolster the party ahead of a showdown with the president. Despite Mr. Biden’s refusal to negotiate, McCarthy made some last-minute changes to the legislation, including unwinding aspects of Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act and his plan to cancel student debt, which appeased some lawmakers.

The Republicans had attempted and failed to unite around a budget blueprint to outline spending cuts in exchange for raising the borrowing limit. Hence, the leaders unveiled the Limit, Save, Grow Act – a plan with substantially watered-down ideas. It dropped the party’s aspirations for balancing the budget and imposing draconian cuts.

The top officials were able to break through the bill’s opposition after a late-night negotiating session. They agreed to remove a provision rolling back tax credits that the Biden administration put in place for ethanol and move up the imposition of work requirements for Medicaid and food stamp recipients to 2024. Only four right-wing Republicans voted against the bill, which passed with a slim majority.

Democrats slammed the proposal as a cruel move that would affect the most vulnerable Americans with its spending reductions and new work requirements.

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