The White House and Republican leaders in Congress are racing to finalize their bipartisan two-year budget agreement as they try to convince their respective parties of the finer details ahead of a vote expected this week.
Negotiators and staff spent the entire night working on the legislative text for the agreement that was clinched late Saturday night. The agreement would raise the debt ceiling to $31.4 trillion through 2024 and limit federal expenditures during the same period. Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, said that he would like to have the legislation completed by Sunday in order for it to be voted on Wednesday.
McCarthy planned to meet with reporters in the Capitol at 10 am. According to Hakeem Jeffreys (D-NY), he and President Joe Biden will have a conversation early Sunday afternoon. After that, the bill text is expected to be released. House Democrats will be briefed by administration officials at 5 p.m.
Eight days before Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen warned the U.S. would likely run out cash to pay their bills, an agreement on a two-year budget was reached. The Congressional leaders will now have to make a massive effort to convince their respective parties of the agreement before the deadline on June 5.
Biden is likely to need a large number of Democrats in order to pass the bill. Conservatives have criticized the deal, calling it a betrayal to the Republican debt package that was passed by the House of Representatives last month.
The agreement on the budget would raise the debt ceiling through January 2025. This could lead to another standoff in the months following the presidential election over the borrowing cap. A source familiar with this framework stated that the deal would maintain non-defense spending at a level similar to the current fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and increase funding by 1 percent for these programs in 2025.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. McCarthy’s close ally Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) disagreed with that description of the bill’s domestic spending. Johnson, a close ally of McCarthy’s, disputed that characterization.
The Republicans demanded that the government budget be cut by $130 billion dollars in fiscal year 2024. They also wanted a decade-long cap on spending. Biden and McCarthy struck a budget deal that would limit spending in the first two years of fiscal 2024, but then set non-enforceable targets for funding after 2025.
The agreement would cap military funding to Biden’s request of $886 billion. This is a roughly 3.5 percent rise. Veteran’s medical care would be matched to the president’s budget request of $121 billion for fiscal 2024.
After the agreement was released, there were murmurs about a revolt by members of the House Freedom Caucus. McCarthy may not be able to stop the agreement by himself, but he can certainly make his life miserable if he takes their anger too far.
Rep. Bob Good said on Twitter Saturday night that “no one who claims to be conservative could justify voting YES.”
The group’s opinion was not uniform. Jim Jordan, a Freedom Caucus member, and Warren Davidson (both GOP Reps.) liked the deal.
McCarthy said on Saturday that the agreement would “lift people out poverty” by adjusting the work requirements. The speaker told Fox News Sunday that the bill was supported by “more than 95%” of House Republicans.
McCarthy said, “It may not be perfect for everyone but it is a big step forward that no one expected us to take today.”
The White House is likely to struggle with convincing Democrats of new work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and SNAP. The budget agreement is a victory for the Obama administration. It does not include new work requirements for Medicaid. It also preserves the clean energy tax incentives that were included in the Democrats’ signature climate legislation last year. And it won’t affect Biden’s plan for millions of Americans to have up to $20,000 worth of student loans cancelled.
The deal codifies Biden’s plan, which is to end the current freeze on monthly student loans and interest payments at the end of summer. It also claws back a portion Democrats’ new IRS funding, and pulls back billions in Covid relief that was not spent.
This report was written by Jordain Carey and Jennifer Scholtes.