House Republicans released their long-awaited proposal to avert a debt ceiling crisis in a bid to end a standoff with the White House.
The 320-page “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023,” introduced by GOP leadership on Wednesday, would lift the U.S. debt limit by $1.5 trillion or until March 31, 2024 — whichever comes first. As a trade-off, Republicans want a variety of spending cuts and commitments aimed at fostering economic growth.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) delivered remarks on the House floor, explaining that the legislation led by Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) seeks to “responsibly raise the debt limit into next year and provide more than $4.5 trillion in savings to American taxpayers.”
To reach that goal, McCarthy said the proposal would limit government spending, return discretionary spending to pre-inflationary, fiscal year 2022 levels, and then limit the growth of spending to 1% per year.
.@SpeakerMcCarthy (R-CA): “Today, I’m proud to announce we are introducing the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 … [The bill] would responsibly raise the debt limit into next year and provide more than $4.5 trillion in savings to American taxpayers.” https://t.co/CXoX6Ml1TQ pic.twitter.com/zSZ6ciFo7M
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 19, 2023
“Our plan ensures adults without dependents earn a paycheck and learn new skills. By restoring these common sense measures, we can help more Americans earn a paycheck, learn new skills, reduce childhood poverty, and rebuild the workforce,” McCarthy said. “It will also protect and preserve Medicare and Social Security because more people will be paying into it.”
The proposal boasts a long list of cuts, including rescinding unobligated coronavirus funds and repealing “green” energy tax credits. It also outlines crackdowns on student debt relief, SNAP benefits, Internal Revenue Service money, and more.
Time is of the essence, as experts have warned of a default this summer that could cripple the U.S. economy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress in January that the United States had crossed the statutory limit of roughly $31.4 trillion and advised that her agency take “extraordinary measures” so the government could continue to pay its bills, but only in the short term.
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How far the House proposal gets remains to be seen. Republicans hold a slim majority in the House, and the top Democrat already said he does not support GOP leadership’s efforts.
“House Dems are working hard to prevent a catastrophic default that will hurt everyday Americans,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) tweeted on Tuesday. “Extreme MAGA Republicans lack the votes to pass their irresponsible plan. It’s time to end the right-wing drama and cleanly raise the debt ceiling.”
As an alternative, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus released a one-page framework proposal of its own, talking briefly about temporarily suspending the debt ceiling, creating a fiscal commission and interim deficit stabilization controls, and adopting budget reforms. And there are also conservative lawmakers who have been making demands, such as a commitment to “unwind” President Joe Biden’s championed Inflation Reduction Act.
Whatever the House passes would then move to the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats. Meanwhile, the White House has been adamant that raising the debt ceiling should not have any conditions ever since Biden met with McCarthy more than two months ago.
“Speaker McCarthy is engaging in dangerous economic hostage-taking,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in the hours before the House GOP proposal was unveiled.
From his presidential Twitter account, Biden argued on Wednesday that Republicans are not focused on “fiscal discipline,” but rather “finding ways to squeeze more out of America’s middle class. That’s the MAGA economic agenda,” tying GOP lawmakers to former President Donald Trump’s movement.
Still, McCarthy said that the Senate lacks a plan and, with the House GOP proposal now introduced, he put the onus on Biden to reach an agreement.
“President Biden has a choice: come to the table and stop playing partisan political games or cover his ears, refuse to negotiate, and risk bumbling his way into the first default in our nation’s history,” the speaker said.
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