Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are beginning to temper their members’ expectations of what a final debt ceiling deal might look like, becoming more explicit in acknowledging that neither side will get everything they want. ‘she wants.
Asked on Monday whether a dead-end deal to cut spending as a condition of raising the debt ceiling would cause the ideological left and right sides of the parties to lose votes, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that would be the case.
“Did you ever think ultimately that when you go into a negotiation with both sides, one side would carry everything? No, no one thinks that,” McCarthy said.
On the same day, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) said he was prepared to consider an offer from the White House to freeze spending at current levels — a stance that is drawing controversy. anger of the liberals.
Although Republicans flatly rejected that offer, it shows how far the White House has come in talks with Republicans in a matter of weeks as pressure mounts to strike a deal.
“Any proposal that potentially proposes to freeze spending is not a proposal that has been made public by the left flank,” Jeffries told reporters on Monday. “It’s an inherently reasonable effort to find common ground in a divided government situation.”
Political observers had long expected that the eventual deal to raise the debt ceiling would fall somewhere in between what both parties are demanding, but McCarthy’s and Jeffries’ statements are their clearest signals at this point. day that their members should prepare for a compromise that abandons certain party priorities.
The moderation on both sides comes as negotiators say they are having productive meetings but remain apart on key issues ahead of a default that the Treasury Department says could come as soon as June 1.
Even with Democratic backing, any deal McCarthy makes will need to win the support of a large majority of House Republicans for him to retain the trust of his conference — and his gavel.
“(McCarthy) knows that getting this through the House will take a Conservative work product that fundamentally changes the way we spend money in this country,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (RS.D. ). “I believe he’s going to deliver that. I believe we will have the kind of overwhelming majority of the conference.
The right has lined up to back the president to pass a bill that pairs a $1.5 trillion debt ceiling hike with about $4.8 trillion in deficit reduction over a decade. . The measure was designed to bring President Biden to the negotiating table, but members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus are pushing the President to “use every lever and tool at his disposal” to force the Senate to vote on the proposal. or to propose a countermeasure.
Some members said they see the agreement as a floor, rather than a ceiling, for what they expect from an end product.
“I’ll watch anything,” Rep. Ralph Norman (RS.C.) said of a potential deal. But he said many Republicans felt the House GOP debt bill was “skinny at best” and that he wanted “four times the cuts.”
“I don’t know why we are negotiating. The House has done its job. The Senate needs to pass the bill,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) said, adding that the only position members took during a conference meeting Tuesday morning was to pass the bill. House GOP.
McCarthy spoke about that position when asked Tuesday if he was preparing his conference to agree to anything less than the House GOP bill, responding that the real question is “what is the Senate ready to accept, because he did nothing”.
Yet he only set out a few red lines for compromise: no tax increases, cuts in discretionary spending below current levels, and no net increase in the debt ceiling.
The red lines are for major issues, of course, but don’t match the GOP’s full wish list.
Johnson said it’s too early to worry about how Republicans will whip votes for a debt limit compromise. And others are downplaying the difficulty of doing so, with Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the bylaws committee, saying the leadership will be able to secure that large majority with “a great team of whips.” , which we have, and I think we feel like we’re succeeding.
At the same time, Democratic leaders are also feeling the pressure from their left flank, as liberals flatly reject negotiations with Republicans over the debt ceiling.
Speaking about the White House’s proposal to freeze spending, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said she couldn’t “in good faith understand how that’s a reasonable offer at this time.”
“I think the offer should raise the debt ceiling. We have budget conversations later,” she said, adding, “If the Democrats don’t take seriously the extremists they have deal, we are going to risk allowing these people to destroy our economy and the global economy.
Omar’s warning adds to some of the growing unease among progressives in recent weeks over potential concessions the White House could end up making in order to find a compromise with GOP leaders.
“Look at what’s on offer in terms of cuts,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters earlier this week. “Don’t talk about spending in the abstract. Good start, 200,000 children, no slots. 100,000 children without daycare.
However, DeLauro did not entirely rule out spending cuts in comments to reporters, as many on both sides refrained from drawing red lines in debt limit negotiations.
Other party members are also not happy with the direction of the talks, but it is understood that the final compromise between the White House and a divided Congress will not include everything both sides have asked for.
“We have a divided government. Nothing can be done here without votes from both sides in the Senate and the House,” Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Tuesday. “That means neither side gets 100% of what they want.”
“We recognize that we won’t get everything. Republicans shouldn’t get it all,” he said.
Mychael Schnell contributed to this report, which was updated May 24 at 7:03 a.m.
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