Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomeUS NewsGaetz Predicts Debt Ceiling Deal Won’t Harm McCarthy

Gaetz Predicts Debt Ceiling Deal Won’t Harm McCarthy

As negotiators zero in on the details of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, some Republican representatives are downplaying the idea that cutting a bipartisan deal will endanger the position of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

McCarthy was elected speaker in January after a record 15 ballots. Because Republicans hold a slim majority in the House, a small group of conservative members were able to hold up McCarthy’s election until granted a number of demands.

Among those concessions was a rule change allowing any one member to introduce a motion to “vacate the chair,” potentially ending McCarthy’s leadership role.

As details of a possible bipartisan agreement on raising the debt limit were leaked on May 25, members of the House Freedom Caucus urged McCarthy to stand firm on the details of the GOP debt limit and spending plan, the Limit, Save, Grow Act. The group hinted at potential consequences if the speaker is not firm enough in negotiations.

In a May 25 letter to the speaker, caucus members praised McCarthy for his leadership in uniting congressional Republicans and warned that this unity might be fleeting.

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Rep.-elect Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) (L) and Rep.-elect Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) (R) speak with Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in the House Chamber on Jan. 6, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“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,” they wrote.

A day later, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who had vocally opposed McCarthy’s speakership, negated the idea that reaching a compromise agreement with Democrats might endanger McCarthy’s leadership role.

“I think that it [a potential bipartisan agreement] will pass with about 80 to 100 Democrat votes and between 140 and 160 Republican votes,” Gaetz said during a May 26 livestream on Twitter Spaces.

“I think the coalition opposed to this will be, like, the Squad and the Freedom Caucus, and it will rocket through the Senate after it passes the House. And I think that there is no serious threat to McCarthy’s speakership.”

The Squad refers to a small group of Democratic House members often characterized as the most progressive of the far-left wing of the party.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), when asked whether he would vote to vacate McCarthy’s leadership if he reached a deal with President Joe Biden, said, “Absolutely not.”

“He’s a great leader,” Burchett told reporters on May 25. “He’s keeping his word.”

Notably, Burchett did not support the Limit, Save, Grow Act because, he said, it was merely a reduction in spending growth, not a serious effort at eliminating debt.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), both members of the House Freedom Caucus, declined to say that a bipartisan deal would end McCarthy’s speakership. However, neither refused to rule out the possibility.

“That’s a different calculation altogether,” Donalds said. “We’re talking about the debt ceiling.”

Working Against the Clock

Surrogates for Biden and McCarthy have been negotiating intensely since May 9 and appear to have made progress.

According to Roy, details of a potential deal include raising the debt ceiling between $3.5 trillion and $4 trillion, much more than the $1.5 trillion proposed in the Limit, Save, Grow Act, and significantly reducing other included fiscal reforms.

Many Democrats have taken a hard line on the other side, urging the president to invoke the 14th Amendment to continue paying the nation’s bills to avoid either default or acquiescing to what they call unreasonable Republican demands.

Kevin McCarthy
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), joined by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), speaks to reporters at the White House on May 22, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, time may be running out on preventing a default on the nation’s financial obligations. It is “highly likely” that the government will lack the funds to pay all of America’s bills in early June, possibly as early as June 1, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Though McCarthy and one of his lead negotiators, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) have said they accept that forecast, members of the House Freedom Caucus, including Roy and Gaetz, have questioned it.

Slow Progress

McCarthy remained upbeat despite the slow progress of negotiations. “I thought we made progress yesterday. I want to make progress again today,” he told reporters on May 26. He added that he wants to create an agreement that will “change the trajectory” of the nation’s finances and be “worthy of the American people.”

McHenry described the negotiations as challenging but voiced optimism for reaching a deal over the Memorial Day weekend.

“I don’t know if it’s the next day or two or three, but it’s got to come together,” McHenry said.

“There is forward progress, but each time there’s forward progress, the issues that remain become more difficult and more challenging. So that is step by step, small step by small step, and at some point this thing can come together or go the other way.”

The House is in recess until June 5 but could be called back to consider a bill if needed. The Senate is in recess until May 30.

Source link


Most Popular

Recent Comments