The Threat Is Real: Freedom Caucus Forces McCarthy To Rush Debt Limit Vote After They Voice MAJOR Doubts About His Leadership

Written By BlabberBuzz | Thursday, 01 June 2023 12:00
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In a race against time, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is pushing for a prompt vote on the bipartisan agreement to raise the nation's debt limit until after the 2024 election.

However, the rising opposition from the House Freedom Caucus, a hard-right faction of the House Republicans, poses a significant threat to McCarthy's leadership.

Scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday, the debt-limit proposal will be discussed in the Senate before the June 5 default deadline. Expressing his confidence in the agreement, McCarthy, a California Republican, assured that the bill would be passed with support from both Republican and Democratic factions.

"I'm confident that we'll pass the bill," stated Mr. McCarthy. "If people are against saving all that money, or work reforms and welfare reform, I can't do anything about it."

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries anticipated that McCarthy would secure many GOP votes. He further assured the Democrats would provide the remainder necessary to pass the legislation.

"My expectation is that House Republicans will keep their commitment to produce at least two-thirds of their conference – at least 150 votes," Mr. Jeffries, a New York Democrat, said. "Democrats are committed to making sure that we do our part and avoid a default."


McCarthy could face substantial political fallout despite the seemingly high chances of passing the bill. The over 40-member House Freedom Caucus has accused the speaker of causing a rift within the GOP through this deal.

"The Republican conference right now has been torn asunder," commented Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican. "No matter what happens, there's going to be a reckoning about what just occurred, unless we stop this bill by [Wednesday]."


Representative Dan Bishop, a Republican from North Carolina, also indicated his support for the possible removal of the speaker over this deal.

"I think it's got to be done," Mr. Bishop declared, stating that the decision should be made "in conjunction with others."

The Freedom Caucus had posed a significant obstacle to McCarthy's bid for speakership earlier this year. In exchange for their support for McCarthy's leadership, the Caucus propelled a rules package that reduced the concentrated power of congressional oversight.


The significant revision of the rules allows any lawmaker to compel a vote on retaining the speaker. Given the slim Republican majority, McCarthy could not afford to lose more than four GOP lawmakers on any single House vote before having to seek Democratic support.

"If a majority of Republicans are against a piece of legislation and you use Democrats to pass it, that would immediately be a black-letter violation of the deal we had with McCarthy," Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, voiced to Newsmax. "It would likely trigger an immediate motion to vacate."


However, the possibility of such a revolt doesn't seem to perturb McCarthy or other congressional leaders. Instead, both GOP and Democratic leaders actively rally support for the debt-hike deal.

Mr. Jeffries and the White House are addressing concerns over the deal's stringent welfare work requirements and energy provisions. House Republicans, however, emphasize that the agreement represents the best possible scenario, given the Democratic control of the presidency and Senate.


Expressing their support for the agreement on Tuesday were Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

Yet, despite these efforts, over two dozen House Republicans have declared their opposition to the deal, with another 40 still undecided. The resistance is not only from the House Freedom Caucus but also from some moderate Republicans.

Expressing her discontent, Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, a moderate Republican who has previously broken ranks with her party on issues like abortion and former President Donald Trump, expressed her inability to support the deal as it does not address the national debt issue.

"Republicans got outsmarted by a president who can't find his pants," Ms. Mace stated vehemently. "I'm voting 'no' on the debt ceiling debacle because playing the D.C. game isn't worth selling out our kids and grandkids."

The proposed deal aims to allow the U.S. government to continue borrowing above the current $31.4 trillion debt limit until January 1, 2025. This provision is a victory for President Biden, who sought to avoid another confrontation over the debt limit before the 2024 presidential election.

On the Republican side, the deal would recover $40 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief and cut IRS funding. Through the appropriations process, Mr. McCarthy has secured an immediate cut of $1.4 billion to IRS funding, with a further reduction of $20 billion planned over the next two years.

In addition, the deal ensures that domestic spending remains unchanged for the upcoming fiscal year, with defense spending expected to increase by more than $26 billion. Federal spending growth would be limited to 1% per annum through 2025.

"With a narrow majority in the House, we have the most conservative outcome we possibly could," Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, asserted. "I'm proud of the package. I wanted more. I absolutely wanted more, what we have here is better than what was about to come."

Further, Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Biden have agreed to expedite the federal permitting process for new energy projects. The agreement includes a pay-as-you-go provision that requires the President to offset any regulations or rules that lead to increased federal spending.

However, the legislation allows the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to override this rule if necessary to efficiently deliver essential services. The legislation further clarifies that the OMB's waiver cannot be legally contested.

"The OMB director has sole waiver authority to spend if it's 'necessary for program delivery.' So that one line wipes out PAYGO," Ms. Mace added. "These words on paper are totally meaningless if you read the fine print."

In a notable concession to the Republicans, the agreement would expand work requirements for recipients of food stamps and direct cash payments. Able-bodied, childless beneficiaries aged 54 and younger must work at least 20 hours per week to continue receiving their benefits, a stipulation set to expire in 2030.

"I'm not sure what's in the bill people are concerned about," Mr. McCarthy stated. "Are they opposed to work requirements for welfare? Should someone continue to be able to sit on the couch if they're able-bodied with no children and not be helped to find a job?"

Despite the political turbulence, there was a glimmer of hope for McCarthy on Tuesday when a crucial GOP holdout on the House Rules Committee, Rep. Thomas Massie, decided to advance the debt limit deal. Although Massie harbored reservations about the legislation, he consented to move it to the House floor.