White House staff are reportedly pushing a deal on the debt ceiling as talks between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden on a potential raise of the debt limit have been delayed.
The White House is seeking a debt-ceiling increase that would push back the borrowing limit by two years, according to Politico. In exchange, they are reportedly agreeing to caps on “discretionary” spending, which refers to all congressional appropriations excluding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and some minor programs, according to Politico.
A two-year increase in the debt limit would cover borrowing by the federal government until after the 2024 presidential election. Details on the precise cap and areas of reduction proposed by the White House have not yet been released.
.@SpeakerMcCarthy on #DebtCeiling meeting postponement: "The White House didn't cancel the meeting. All of the leaders decided it's probably in the best of our best interest to let the staff meet again before we get back together." pic.twitter.com/JCNERNs781
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 11, 2023
In the House Republicans’ debt ceiling bill, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, discretionary spending increases were capped at 1% for the next decade, a provision strongly supported by the House Freedom Caucus, a group of fiscal conservatives whose votes McCarthy needs to pass a bill. The White House’s proposed two-year cap, however, significantly shortens that timeline and may negate the debt reduction sought by the GOP, which would lead to $3.2 trillion in spending cuts in the next decade, per the Congressional Budget Office.
“I would be surprised if a two-year deal could gain support of the conference,” Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, told Politico. “A two-year deal would be hard to stomach for most members,” he said.
Republican Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, who is reportedly advising McCarthy on the debt ceiling, has said that a final debt ceiling deal may include only a subset of demands by House conservatives, such as reforms to energy permitting, a return of unspent COVID-19 relief funds and an expansion of work requirements to receive Medicaid and food stamps. Energy permit reforms for fossil fuel projects have been recently sought for a second time by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, though John Podesta, a senior advisor to Biden, recently said that the administration supports streamlining permits primarily for green energy projects.
McCarthy, the White House, and Rep. Scott Perry, the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, have been contacted for a comment.
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