Thursday, June 1, 2023

Shutdown Countdown, Armageddon Edition, Con't

House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries got the job done yesterday as the debt ceiling deal overwhelmingly passed with bipartisan support, and now GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has to try to save his job.
With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House voted Wednesday to pass the debt ceiling legislation negotiated by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, sending it to the Senate with days to spare before a potentially disastrous default.

The vote was 314 to 117, with 149 Republicans joining 165 Democrats.

The bill would extend the debt limit for two years alongside a two-year budget agreement if it is signed into law. It is the culmination of months of political warfare and weeks of frenzied negotiations between the two parties that finally broke a lengthy stalemate.

The deal overcame heavy criticism from GOP hard-liners, who argued that its spending cuts and conservative provisions are too weak. It also faced opposition from Democrats, who criticized the added work requirements and nondefense spending cuts negotiated by the two men.

“You are getting so many wins for the American people in this bill,” said McCarthy, R-Calif., who hailed it as a measure that “moves us in the right direction” fiscally. He said his message to fellow Republicans on Wednesday was: “You’re not spending more money. There’s no new government programs. There’s no tax increases. There’s nothing in the bill that you really should be negative about.”

Biden praised its passage.

"This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise," Biden said in a statement. "Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing."

The bill now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, where it needs 60 votes before it can get to Biden’s desk. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have both endorsed it and called for speedy passage.
Ironically it was my own normally useless congressman, Thomas Massie, who was the biggest indicator that the bill was going to have the GOP votes needed.  Massie signed off on the bill in the House Rules Committee along with Patrick McHenry, my congressman from back home in NC. Both of these performative contrarians fell right into line when pressed.

Spokespeople for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) disputed four Democratic sources who told Axios the two leaders had cut a deal for Democrats to help advance the debt ceiling bill to a final vote.

Why it matters: The 52 Democratic votes on a measure to bring the debt ceiling bill to the floor were necessary for the bill's survival after 29 Republicans had voted against moving it forward Wednesday afternoon. The bill eventually was approved on a 314-117 vote.

What we’re hearing: Four Democratic lawmakers said they had been told of a deal, with two saying they believed it involved boosting federal funding for projects in Democrats’ districts — known as earmarks or “community project funding” — if Democrats voted to advance the bill.

What they're saying: McCarthy had told reporters after the initial afternoon vote that he had not cut a deal to ensure the Democratic votes. A spokesperson later told Axios that there was "absolutely no deal" — and that suggestions to the contrary by Democratic lawmakers were "not accurate."
Jeffries' office also denied there was a deal.
"There was no side deal. House Democrats simply did the right thing and made sure the procedural vote passed because failure was not an option," spokesperson Christie Stephenson told Axios.
Earlier, when reporters had asked Jeffries whether there had been a deal, the minority leader said: "House Democrats to the rescue to avoid a dangerous default and help House Republicans get legislation over the finish line that they negotiated themselves."

The context: The GOP resistance in the procedural "rules" vote was an unusual breach of norms — typically the majority party alone is considered responsible for putting a bill on the floor on those votes.

If Democrats hadn't stepped in, the push for a final vote to move toward avoiding a catastrophic default by the U.S. government would have ground to a halt.
"What deal?" says the man who learned everything from Nancy Pelosi a sly grin resting on his face,  now having left Kevin McCarthy to face his caucus alone.
As the kids say, GIGACHAD move.

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