House Republican leaders are touting the deal between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden as a conservative victory, even as many of the most conservative Republicans in the House are saying they will vote against it.
“[The White House] wanted new tax policy, they want new tax revenue, they wanted tax increases,” said House Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., on a call with reporters Monday night. “They wanted more price fixing, like more price setting, in the private sector for a variety of products, especially pharmaceuticals. Their key policy issues they forced into the conversation, are not in this bill.”
“They get an 18-month increase in the debt ceiling. And in return, we reduce spending, we have major changes to the permitting process,” added McHenry, who described the deal as a “conservative bill that rides atop an 18-month increase in the debt ceiling.”
McHenry negotiated the deal along with Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., who also backed up the final product and shook off complaints from the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
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“I’ll just say that I think it’s pretty clear, based on their public statements and where we are right now, the clear victors in this overall negotiation,” he said.
At the same time, several Republicans said over the weekend they cannot support the deal, which will face its first test in a Tuesday Rules Committee hearing, where lawmakers will prep the bill for a House vote. Republicans control that committee with 9-4 majority, but two GOP members – Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Ralph Norman, R-S.C. – have already spent the weekend trashing the bill in public and could vote against it.
“This ‘deal’ is insanity. A $4T debt ceiling increase with virtually no cuts is not what we agreed to. Not gonna vote to bankrupt our country. The American people deserve better,” Norman said in a post on Saturday night.
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Roy, who has been a key negotiator within the conference for the Freedom Caucus, claimed that McCarthy made an “explicit” promise during the speaker vote this year that Republican support on a bill had to be unanimous in the Rules Committee before it gets to the House floor.
He also wrote of the debt limit bill, “It’s not a good deal. Some $4 Trillion in debt for – at best – a two-year spending freeze and no serious substantive policy reforms.”
House leaders would not directly comment on their and other conservatives’ public defections during the Monday evening call.
“I’ll just say succinctly that we control the Rules Committee, and we would like our rules come to the floor with majority Republican votes. And I’ll leave it at that,” Graves said when asked about Roy’s claim about his agreement with McCarthy.
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The final deal suspends the debt limit with no cap through Jan. 1, 2025, while also cutting non-defense spending to near fiscal 2022 levels, capping growth at 1% for the next two years and non-mandatory caps for the four years after. It also claws back some money aimed at the Internal Revenue Service and some unspent COVID-19 pandemic funds.
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“We’ve effectively delivered and in fact overperformed in a number of areas in the topic of limiting spending, saving money directly for taxpayers today, and producing policies that will increase economic growth and improve the workforce,” said McCarthy ally Rep. French Hill, R-Ark.
“You know, we all wish it were perfect,” he said. “We all wish that it had every element that every Republican wanted. But I think they’ll go and individually have those conversations with our members, and really limit those who still are dissatisfied.”