The US Congress was moving this Wednesday towards a crucial vote that would remove the country from the imminent danger of defaultwhile Republicans and Democrats fervently negotiated overnight with hardline lawmakers from both parties to get the bill passed in the House of Representatives.
fiercely contested Until the final minutes, the bill suspends the debt ceiling and adjusts the country’s budget, thus avoiding the risk of finding itself in an unprecedented suspension of payments next Monday, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned.
The legislation was due to pass Wednesday night in the Republican-dominated lower house, but has yet to do so the changes remained to be resolved and they worked against time to be able to give the green light and direct the project to the Senate, in the hands of the Democrats.
Democratic Chairman Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sought the deal with an alliance of their respective centrist lawmakers to pass it before the tenacious resistance from the right who wanted more spending cuts and some dissidents from the democratic left who opposed the elimination of welfare benefits.
The bill suspends the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling through January 2025, enough to get through the upcoming 2024 presidential election without a repeat of the wrestling match. In return, some expenditures are limited to keep them stable – with the exception of military expenditures – in 2024 and limit their increase to 1% for 2025.
It also provides for a $10,000 million reduction in funds allocated to the treasury to modernize and tighten controls.
The deal also calls for the recovery of “billions of dollars of unspent Covid funds” on the pandemic, without giving further details, which more leftist Democrats have questioned.
aces of contention
One major point of contention includes the Changes to the conditions for receiving certain social benefitssuch as raising the working age from 49 to 54 for childless adults seeking food aid, but eliminating this requirement for veterans and the homeless.
It would also officially end Biden’s proposed student loan payment freeze and greenlight a new gas pipeline in Appalachia that many Democrats oppose.
According to the president, the agreement would avoid a “catastrophic” default. And, even if he doesn’t say it outright, it gives the Democrat the air of moving smoothly through a new presidential campaign.
Biden, who had entered into an agreement in principle with McCarthy over the weekend, sent some White House officials to the Capitol to seek support before the vote, while the Republican leader tried to convince the most extremists of his party and even defend his placed at the head of the bloc because many have tried to boycott his leadership.
The Republican right – mostly members of the House Freedom Caucus – are demanding that the deal not include the drastic budget cuts promised by McCarthy.
To garner the majority of the 218 votes needed to pass the bill in the House of Representatives, McCarthy had to assemble a coalition of Republicans willing to support it and enough Democrats to make up for a sizable number of defections of the Republican Party.
McCarthy was confident he could do it and they scheduled a final vote for Wednesday night, after the markets were already closed.
jokes and threats
But it wasn’t easy: prominent progressive Democrats and far-right Republicans have come out against the deal. Some ultra-conservative GOP lawmakers were in open revolt and vowed to try to derail it, with some warning of dire consequences for McCarthy.
“Completely unacceptable,” said Rep. Dan Bishop, a Republican from North Carolina. “Trillions and trillions of dollars of debt, for crumbs. For a pittance,” he added.
After approval in the lower house, the project must pass the Senate in the next few days to avoid Monday’s default and the US economy to take an uncertain course.
This would ensure that government checks would continue to flow to Social Security recipients and military veterans, among others, and prevent financial catastrophe at home and abroad.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.