Kevin McCarthy, the House Speaker, has passed a bill to limit the debt in the House. This ends weeks of speculation by detractors and puts the ball squarely into Joe Biden’s hands. McCarthy’s sudden surge of support, including from moderate Republicans in the Senate, shows that the GOP is prepared to fight back.
McCarthy’s biggest victory since he won his Speakership at the beginning of this year was when the Limit, Save, Grow Act was passed by House. McCarthy’s victory will force Biden to negotiate with Republicans. While the White House, Democrats, and Republicans have all claimed they would not accept anything but a clean increase in the debt ceiling, McCarthy’s win here is his biggest victory since he overcame opposition to his Speakership earlier this year.
The fact that Mitch McConnell, among others, has backed him is also important, because it means that the White House cannot force this issue on the House.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that even if the House passes the proposed GOP debt ceiling bill, the chances of it clearing the Senate are “essentially zero,” adding that an agreement must be reached between Speaker McCarthy and Pres. Biden over the debt ceiling. pic.twitter.com/bs5gYJLaDg
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 26, 2023
Punchbowl News breaks down the issue in their morning email.
McCarthy has also secured a very useful talking point. House Republicans have been the only ones who passed legislation lifting the borrowing cap, no matter how right-leaning or unrealistic the 320-page package may be. McCarthy will now sit and pat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, slamming him for not doing anything and President Joe Biden’s refusal to negotiate.
Now, the president cannot put this economy at risk. McCarthy stated that after the vote, “We have lifted the limit on debt, we have done what we were supposed to do, and we are the only one who passed anything.”
McCarthy received phone calls on Wednesday night from several Senate Republicans congratulating him for passing the bill. There is no support for a debt limit measure that’s clean in the Senate GOP Conference, at least not now. McCarthy will not be able for the White House to bypass him by striking a deal with Senate Republicans.
I have already mentioned how important it is to get the support of the Senate Republican caucus, especially the moderate wing. Mitch McConnell and Todd Young have publicly called on Biden to sit down to negotiate with McCarthy.
Biden’s problem is that he has no plan. McCarthy responded to their bluff because the Democrats had no plan, was not interested in negotiations, and did not have a strategy. The Democrats are furious that the House now has the upper hand. It also makes them fearful.
Biden is from a time when politicians still believed that “We Have to Do Something” meant “We Have to Do Something.” Today, they say “We Have to do Something” without any real plan other than to try to make their opponent look bad. Biden, however, will have to negotiate, and come up with a compromise. This is what Democrats do not want.
If Republicans are willing to negotiate, they’re not the extremists that Democrats portray them to be. The Democrats also know that Biden’s desire “to do something” will cause him to negotiate. They don’t like the idea of budget cuts being tied to the debt ceiling. This would be disastrous to their fiscal philosophy if they even have one.
McCarthy is to be commended for his commitment to the fight. McCarthy is right to stick to the fight, partly because he must, as the right wing of his party would not allow anything else to pass. But he also deserves credit for refusing to cut a bad deal in order to please everyone. Biden may yet achieve his goal, but for now, he is in a difficult position.