Debt Ceiling Agreement: House Freedom Caucus Republicans Weigh In

The arrangement revealed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that would raise the debt ceiling for two years in advance of a possible federal government default has been criticized by some members of the House Freedom Caucus as not going far enough.

Bill text negotiations have reached a critical stage. On Saturday, McCarthy announced that the House would vote on the bill the following Wednesday, giving the Senate till June 5 to review it. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the United States could default on its debt commitments if Congress did not act soon.

House Freedom Caucus member and Republican from Georgia Andrew Clyde said he would not support the proposed compromise. On Saturday, he tweeted that he was against raising the debt ceiling by $4 trillion because it would mean sacrificing nearly all the significant financially sensible initiatives in the Limit, Save, Grow Act. 

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Texas), echoing the sentiments of his fellow caucus members in a Twitter post, said McCarthy had earlier that evening outlined the deal with President Biden. It is unacceptable that the United States will have an intolerable $35 trillion debt in January 2025.

A $4T rise in the debt ceiling with almost no cutbacks was not agreed upon, as tweeted by South Carolina Republican Representative Ralph Norman. He continued, saying they won’t vote to bankrupt the country because the people of the United States deserve better.

On Sunday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) noted that the proposal includes no measures to recover the $1.2 trillion in gifts to elite leftists through the affiliate ‘inflation reduction acts’ for grid-destroying, unstable energy.

Over the weekend, an anonymous source told the media the agreement would keep non-defense spending steady in the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1 percent the following year. It would also provide a two-year debt limit rise beyond the 2024 presidential election. The proposal’s exact details have yet to be made public.

Early on, some conservatives voiced skepticism that the arrangement would reduce future deficits sufficiently. On the other hand, Democrats have been concerned about changes to requirements in social assistance programs like food stamps.

Despite the backlash, McCarthy supported his primary debt ceiling arrangement with President Joe Biden on Sunday. The speaker conceded that not all Republicans would be happy with the legislation. Still, he claimed that Democrats had received only a few if any, compromises.

McCarthy said in an interview on Sunday that while it doesn’t do everything for everyone, it’s a step in the right direction that no one thought possible today. He said it wasn’t perfect, but that’s because Republicans don’t have a stranglehold on every aspect of government. However, Congress has just approved the largest budget cut in history due to this recession.

While this happened, McCarthy indicated that most of his Republican conference would support the tentative arrangement with the Biden administration to lift the debt ceiling for at least two more years. After the Biden administration stalled negotiations for months, he hailed the bill, which he estimated would be over 150 pages, as a victory for the Republican Party.

Some members of the House Freedom Caucus had said before Saturday’s news that McCarthy should be stringent during debt negotiations.

Last week, 35 Republicans said that President Biden had put off working with Congress on the debt ceiling for months. Now that he’s actively involved, media reports suggest he’ll try to water down the House-passed Limit, Save, Grow Act requirements while demanding a debt ceiling hike of $4 trillion or more, far more than the $1.5 trillion authorized in the House plan.

Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in student loan debt for a vast majority of borrowers was also targeted by Republicans. The Democrat Party, however, found the clause to be unacceptable. 

Although the Supreme Court ultimately has the final say, the budget agreement would preserve Biden’s student loan relief.