McCarthy Confident of ‘Transformational’ Debt Deal’s Approval

McCarthy Confident of ‘Transformational’ Debt Deal’s Approval

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed confidence Sunday that Congress would pass the debt-limit deal he negotiated with President Joe Biden, calling it a “transformational” move to rein in spending that a majority of Republicans would support.

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(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed confidence Sunday that Congress would pass the debt-limit deal he negotiated with President Joe Biden, calling it a “transformational” move to rein in spending that a majority of Republicans would support.

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He rejected as “crazy” a scenario in which the House fails to pass the measure, claiming 95% of his party’s lawmakers are “excited” by the deal. Yet he acknowledged the agreement is likely to face some opposition from Republicans.

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“We know anytime we sit and negotiate with two parties, that you got to work with both sides of the aisle. So it’s not 100% of what everybody wants, but when you look the country is going to be stronger,” McCarthy said in a Sunday morning press conference at the Capitol. 

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Asked if he was worried about a possible effort by hard-line conservative lawmakers to oust him from the speaker’s chair, McCarthy responded: “Not at all.”

McCarthy urged lawmakers to reserve judgment until they see the legislative text of the bill, which should be released Sunday — giving the representatives the promised 72 hours to read it before voting as early as Wednesday. 

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President Joe Biden and McCarthy plan to talk by 2 p.m. Sunday, and negotiators from both parties plan to brief their members on the deal in separate calls later in the afternoon. Biden was traveling to Delaware on Sunday for his granddaughter’s high-school graduation. 

Biden and McCarthy sealed their bargain during a 90-minute phone call late Saturday. Now they must shepherd the deal through Congress over the objections of hard-liners in both parties before the government runs out of borrowing capacity in about a week. 

Read more: Traders Gear Up to Embrace Riskier Assets After Debt-Cap Deal

Arguing for the merits of the deal, McCarthy cited provisions taking back previously approved spending, calling them “the largest rescission in American history.” He also highlighted increased work requirements.

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The deal cuts the Internal Revenue Service’s budget by $1.9 billion, the speaker said, less than the $80 billion cut in IRS funding that many GOP lawmakers had sought. 

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While the agreement would not affect the Biden administration’s student-loan forgiveness, which is being litigated in the courts, it would end the pandemic-era moratorium on repayments. “The pause is gone within 60 days of this being signed,” McCarthy told “Fox News Sunday.” 

Representative Garret Graves, one of the Republican negotiators, said the deal would also streamline permitting for energy projects — although a complete overhaul of the 54-year-old National Environmental Policy Act would be dealt with separately. 

Read more: Debt-Ceiling Deal Omits Broad Overhaul of Energy Permitting

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Representative Pramila Jayapal, chairwoman of the 100-member Progressive caucus, said she hasn’t decided whether she’ll support the bill. But she said Biden and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries should be concerned about whether they can deliver votes from the party’s left flank. 

“Yes, they have to worry. Yes,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

There’s little margin for error or delay. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Friday that the debt-limit must be extended by June 5 to avoid a historic default.

—With assistance from Erik Wasson and Victoria Cavaliere.

(Updates with additional comments from congressional leaders)

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