They are counting on pulling majority support from the political centre
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks as he meets President Joe Biden to discuss the debt limit in the Oval Office of the White House Monday. Pic/AP
Hard-fought to the end, the debt ceiling and budget cuts package is heading toward a crucial U.S. House vote as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assemble a coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans to push it to passage over fierce blowback from conservatives and some progressive dissent.
Biden is sending top White House officials to meet early Wednesday at the Capitol to shore up support ahead of voting. McCarthy is working furiously to sell skeptical fellow Republicans, even fending off challenges to his leadership, in the rush to avert a potentially disastrous U.S. default. Despite deep disappointment from right-flank Republicans that the compromise falls short of the spending cuts they demanded, McCarthy insisted he would have the votes needed to ensure approval.
“We’re going to pass the bill,” McCarthy said as he exited a lengthy Tuesday night meeting at the Capitol. Quick approval by the House and later in the week the Senate would ensure government checks will continue to go out to Social Security recipients, veterans and others and would prevent financial upheaval at home and abroad. Next Monday is when the Treasury has said the U.S. would run short of money to pay its debts, risking an economically dangerous default.
The package leaves few lawmakers fully satisfied, but Biden and McCarthy are counting on pulling majority support from the political center, a rarity in divided Washington, testing the leadership of the Democratic president and the Republican speaker. Overall, the 99-page bill restricts spending for the next two years, suspends the debt ceiling into January 2025 and changes policies, including new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid and greenlighting an Appalachian natural gas line that many Democrats oppose.
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