Sunday, May 28, 2023

Shutdown Countdown, Armageddon Edition, Con't

With House Republican Circus of the Damned Ringmaster Kevin McCarthy and President Biden reaching a tentative debt ceiling deal last night, it's now up to Republicans in the House and Senate to pass it, and there's no guarantee at all that McCarthy has the votes.
To get the legislation through a fractious and closely divided Congress, Mr. McCarthy and top Democratic leaders must cobble together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate willing to back it. Members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus have already declared war on the plan, which they say fails to impose meaningful spending cuts, and warned that they would seek to block it.

So after spending late nights and early mornings in recent days in feverish negotiations to strike the deal, proponents have turned their energies to ensuring it can pass in time to avert a default now projected on June 5.

“This is the most conservative spending package in my service in Congress, and this is my 10th term,” Representative Patrick T. McHenry, Republican of North Carolina and a lead member of Mr. McCarthy’s negotiating team, said at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Sunday morning.

House Republicans circulated a one-page memo with 10 talking points about the conservative benefits of the deal, which was still being finalized and written into legislative text on Sunday, hours before it was expected to be released. The G.O.P. memo asserted that the plan would cap government spending at 1 percent annually for six years — though the measure is only binding for two years — and noted that it would impose stricter work requirements for Americans receiving government benefits, cut $400 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for global health funding and eliminate funding for hiring new I.R.S. agents in 2023.

“It doesn’t get everything everybody wanted,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill. “But, in divided government, that’s where we end up. I think it’s a very positive bill.”

Mr. Biden told reporters that he was confident the deal would reach his desk and that he would speak with Mr. McCarthy on Sunday afternoon “to make sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted.”

“I think we’re in good shape,” the president said. Asked what sticking points were left, he said, “None.”

Still, the deal, which would raise the debt ceiling for two years while cutting and capping some federal programs over the same period, was facing harsh criticism from the wings of both political parties.

“Terrible policy, absolutely terrible policy,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to the work requirements for food stamps and other public benefit programs. “I told the president that directly when he called me last week on Wednesday that this is saying to poor people and people who are in need that we don’t trust them.”

Ms. Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she wanted to read the bill before she decided whether to support it.

Some on the right had already ruled out doing so before seeing the details.

“No one claiming to be a conservative could justify a YES vote,” Representative Bob Good, Republican of Virginia and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, wrote on Twitter. Representative Dan Bishop, Republican of North Carolina, posted his reaction to news of the deal: a vomit emoji.

Russell T. Vought, President Trump’s influential former budget director who now runs the Center for Renewing America, encouraged right-wing Republicans to use their seats on the House Rules Committee — which Mr. McCarthy granted them as he toiled to win their votes to become speaker — to block the deal. “Conservatives should fight it with all their might,” he said.

Some Senate Republicans, who under that chamber’s rules have more tools to slow consideration of legislation, were also up in arms.

“No real cuts to see here,” Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said on Twitter. “Conservatives have been sold out once again!”

“With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?” asked Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who has vowed to delay the debt limit deal.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, was also critical — though for a much different reason. He called the deal too stingy, demanding more robust military funding, particularly for the Navy.

“I am not going to do a deal that marginally reduces the number of I.R.S. agents in the future at the expense of sinking the Navy,” Mr. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday."

So, a huge pile of sausage being made, Republicans get their Medicaid work requirements expansion, and get hundreds of millions in IRS, CDC, and Covid funding cuts, and yes, Biden's student loan forgiveness program remains all but dead after SCOTUS killed it.

Worse, Student loan repayments are going to have to restart later this year, and that's going to hurt millions of Americans, period.

But Biden is getting 98% of the funding passed last year in the Infrastructure and Green New Deal bills too, so...nobody's going to be happy with this bill.

Will it pass?

We'll see. I remind everyone who is complaining about this bill that you elected Republicans to run the House, and this is the direct result.

Maybe stop electing them?

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