The clock is ticking on the debt ceiling negotiations, with no guarantee the United States government won’t fail to live up to its financial obligations starting June 1—that is, according to Biden Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. It’s just one of three assumptions about the debt talks with the White House and Democrat leadership that members of the Republican House Freedom Caucus insist Speaker Kevin McCarthy reconsider, as the two sides remain at an impasse Thursday.
Politico reports that some details of the negotiations have started to leak out, allegedly giving one Republican from Tennessee—who didn’t vote for the GOP House plan—heartburn:
In this case, some GOP members are consulting a list — said to detail exactly where the negotiators have found common ground — that Rep. Tim Burchett shared with colleagues on the floor Thursday. The Tennessean, one of four Republicans to oppose the House GOP’s debt ceiling plan, declined to tell reporters where the list originated, but a Republican familiar with the matter said it came from leadership.
Among the details, according to that Republican: An agreement to lift the debt limit through 2024, a procedure in place to incentivize Congress to pass all 12 spending bills and a plan to claw back unspent Covid money. The two sides are also still working out the GOP’s demands for work requirements for certain safety net programs.
But several members of the House Freedom Caucus also are sharing concerns, including Bob Good (R-VA), who pointed to
“rumors” of a potential deal that would raise the debt ceiling for more money and more time than Republicans wanted — and “for a whole lot less in return that we need.”
“If that were true, that would absolutely collapse the Republican majority for this debt-ceiling increase,” he said.
Byron Donalds (R-FL) also weighed in with harsh words for McCarthy:
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), citing “some of the things that are being thrown around,” said he doesn’t see the point in discussing Congress passing 12 appropriations bills if “the spending is frankly too high.”
“I think if the speaker negotiates that with the President, the speaker will find out there’s a lot of Republicans who won’t be agreeing with the speaker,” he said.
“An aide to Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment on the list,” Politico wrote.
On Wednesday, House Freedom Caucus member Chip Roy (R-Texas) released a “four-page memo” to all Republicans in the House, urging they stay “unified to hold the line,” and “outlining seven reforms” from the budget bill the Republicans recently passed:
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, sent a four-page memo to all House Republican members Wednesday in an apparent effort to keep the GOP together in “holding the line” with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is pressuring the White House to agree to lower spending limits in negotiating the debt ceiling.
Roy, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said in the memo that the GOP gives McCarthy “the strongest hand by: 1) making clear we are unified to hold the line; and 2) messaging the specific purposes behind the Limit, Save, Grow Act.”
“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 said in the memo.
Meanwhile, 35 members of the House Freedom Caucus have now addressed a letter to McCarthy, holding his feet to the bonfire—and it folds in the statements and concerns from the above mentioned congresscritters (Politico).
Adding to the pressure they are beginning to apply, the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday publicly released a letter members sent to McCarthy, where they argued the current unity of the House GOP hinges on how he chooses to move forward. […]
Conservative lawmakers argued for three “specific actions.”
“The power of an undivided Republican Party guided by conservative principles cannot be overstated,” the lawmaker [sic] wrote. “As you navigate the debt limit debate, you are the steward of this unity and will determine whether it continues to strengthen and places a historic stamp on this Congress or evaporates.”
Freedom Caucus lawmakers want the final deal to look like the debt limit legislation passed by House Republicans, plus to expand it to exclude funding for a new FBI headquarters and include great border security measures. […]
Freedom Caucus lawmakers want the House to pass legislation extending the debt limit by one month to give Mr. McCarthy more time to pressure the White House into accepting all of the GOP’s debt limit demands. They also want the short-term extension to include provisions repealing $80 billion in new IRS funding and the recision of unspent COVID-19 relief.
“The only hope for transformative change in Washington comes from a unified House Republican Conference,” the lawmakers wrote. “You have that. We are behind you. Use our unity to make history.”
As I mentioned at the top, there’s also a third “action” conservatives are seeking via McCarthy’s negotiations:
The lawmakers also want Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to release data showing how the federal government has determined it can’t pay all its bills if the debt ceiling is not raised by June 1.
“The credibility of her projection suffers not only from its manipulative timing, but also Yellen’s spectacular prior failures to recognize our severe and lasting inflation,” the lawmakers wrote.
They’re not wrong about that, as we’ve reported on here. Yellen’s was one of the loudest voices insisting that the country was not in a recession, and that inflation was a momentary blip. It’s been obvious for a while now that members of the Biden Administration cannot be trusted with our economy—or much of anything else.
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