Some GOP lawmakers want McCarthy to reject any debt ceiling deal that doesn't include banning student-loan forgiveness and strengthening work requirements for federal programs
- Some GOP lawmakers don't want McCarthy to budge on any of their demands in a debt ceiling deal.
- Rep. Chip Roy said banning student-debt relief and strengthening work requirements should make it into an agreement.
Some conservative lawmakers don't want Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy to make any compromises with President Joe Biden on the debt ceiling — even with a default potentially eight days away.
McCarthy and Biden met on Monday evening to once again attempt to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned McCarthy that same day that the US could run out of money to pay its bills as early as June 1, and even with the severe time crunch to pass legislation before that deadline, both parties have yet to reach an agreement.
And even with an economically catastrophic default looming, some GOP lawmakers don't want McCarthy to budge on Republican demands to reach a deal. At the end of April, the House passed the Limit, Save Grow Act of 2023, which would raise the debt ceiling through the end of March 2024 accompanied with $4.5 trillion in spending cuts — including banning student-loan forgiveness and strengthening work requirements on federal programs like SNAP.
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz told Semafor on Tuesday that he thinks the cuts proposed in that legislation should not change, saying that "my conservative colleagues for the most part support Limit, Save, Grow, and they don't feel like we should negotiate with our hostage."
And on Wednesday, GOP Rep. Chip Roy sent a four-page memo to his Republican colleagues urging them to hold the line on spending cut demands in a potential debt ceiling deal.
"While House Republicans are fighting for hard-working American families facing a woke, weaponized government at odds with our way of life, President Biden and Democrats have been dragging their feet for weeks to fight for rich liberal elitists who want more spending, more government, more corporate subsidies, and less freedom," Roy wrote in the memo.
—House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) May 24, 2023
He wrote that Republicans should not budge on the bill's proposals to freeze spending at fiscal year 2022 levels, repeal energy tax credits, ban student-debt relief, and strengthen work requirements on federal programs, among other things.
Many progressive lawmakers have criticized compromising with Republicans on the debt ceiling, reinforcing Biden's repeated statements that raising the debt ceiling should be a bipartisan and clean process, without any spending cuts attached.
In response to Gaetz's comments on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote on Twitter: "Maybe he could also tell us who their hostages are? The American people? Our economy? VA benefits? Social security checks? Matt and the GOP are playing a dangerous game and like every hostage situation someone is likely going to be hurt. We have to rescue the American people."
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, however, suggested on Monday to reporters that Democrats could be open to capping spending levels. "That's an inherently reasonable position many in our party might even be uncomfortable with, but President Biden recognizes we're in a divided government situation," he said.
McCarthy and Biden are set to continue negotiations this week, but the clock continues to tick for Congress to find a way to address the debt ceiling before Americans experience the first default in the nation's history.
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