WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders on Wednesday introduced legislation to raise the debt ceiling while cutting spending and unwind key elements of President Biden’s domestic agenda, opening debate on the bill.
The move, which would cut federal spending by nearly 14 percent over a decade, Mr. It would undo some of Biden’s clean energy tax credits and student loan cancellation program and impose tougher work requirements on federal nutrition and health programs starting next year. It will die down once it gets to the Democratic-led Senate and the White House, where Mr. Biden’s advisers have warned they will get his veto.
But Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose reputation and influence are on the line in the steepest test he has faced since winning office, described the plan as a way to strengthen his hand as he seeks to force a debt showdown with the president.
In a closed-door meeting with Republicans in the Capitol basement Wednesday morning, Mr. McCarthy appealed to his conference to support the measure, so he could Mr. A person who attended the session said they could begin negotiations with Biden. Comments on anonymity.
The House was on track to vote on the legislation late Wednesday, though the decision left lingering concerns among some Republicans and the party’s slim majority.
The move came after a marathon round of talks by Republican leaders that intensified early Wednesday morning and Mr. The day continued as McCarthy tried to narrow the vote. He also agreed to rescind a provision that the Biden administration had put in place to recoup tax credits for ethanol, which had been requested by the Midwest Conference of States. Bowing to far-right lawmakers who have pushed for stricter regulations on receiving public benefits, the speaker also agreed to move a year to 2024 to impose work requirements on Medicaid and food stamp recipients.
Mr. Republicans want to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. Biden has demanded — without congressional action this summer — that is expected to be achieved soon without any conditions. Without an agreement to do so, the US defaults on its debt, with disastrous consequences.
Mr. It’s still unclear whether McCarthy won enough votes to pass the plan, which he admitted he had no hope of passing.
“This bill will take us to negotiations,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s not the final rules, and many members are voting on it, and they’ll say they have some concerns about it. But they want to make sure the negotiations go forward because we’re sitting on $31 trillion in debt.
However, some hard-right lawmakers blocked raising the debt ceiling — a vote some GOP lawmakers proudly never took — and demanded additional changes to the bill or pledges on unrelated matters.
With a razor-thin majority and Democrats expected to unite in their opposition, Republican leaders can accept few concessions.
Democrats condemned the Republican legislation, which included sweeping cuts to federal programs, tougher work requirements to qualify for Medicaid and food stamps, and rolling back regulatory programs.
They portrayed the plan as tantamount to holding the US economy hostage to far-right policy demands and condemned the last-minute changes.
“My analysis of this new plan is that it’s even more cruel, more destructive, more bad, more bad,” said Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the rules committee. McCarthy said after round of amendments. Wednesday morning. “Your problem with this bill is that it doesn’t screw people over fast enough.”
House Republicans made the changes after a group of more than half a dozen holdouts voiced their opposition to the bill.
“I am skeptical of Speaker McCarthy’s debt ceiling proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Going down the fiscal cliff with the Republicans’ 60-mile plan or the Democrats’ 80-mile plan results in only one thing: a terrible crash.”
Rep. Nancy Mays, Republican of South Carolina, said the proposed spending cuts — far less than the party once called for — “won’t move the needle much” and said she doesn’t understand why House Republicans don’t support more aggressive ones. A plan to strengthen their negotiating hand.
“It’s weak, in my opinion,” Ms Mays said. “And if the president vetoes it and says, ‘To hell with you all,’ come up with a better plan.”
If House Republicans ultimately fail to pass the legislation, it will be up to Mr. For McCarthy and his leadership team and for Democrats to stick to their current position, demanding a debt ceiling increase with no restrictions is a colossal failure.
Conservative groups urged Republicans to approve the bill. Jessica Anderson, executive director of the Heritage Foundation’s lobbying division, called it “a strong position for conservatives and a message to the Biden administration that these are the minimum demands of the American people in the debt ceiling negotiations.”
Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, urged House Republicans to drop the bill, calling repeatedly for Republicans to outline their plan to avoid default.
“I urge Speaker McCarthy to stop wasting time on this DOA – dead on arrival – bill,” Mr. Schumer said. The time to work with Congress to avert disaster is over.