The vote to lift the nation’s debt ceiling averted a catastrophe and handed a defeat to former President Donald Trump, as well as hardline Republicans in Congress and progressive Democrats alike.
House Republican Leaders Seek to Vote on Debt Limit Bill
The debt ceiling and budget cuts package are headed for a crucial vote in the US House of Representatives. Congressional leaders seeking support are meeting with stiff opposition. (may 31)
The US House of Representatives voted to lift the nation’s debt ceiling Wednesday night, averting a potential economic catastrophe and handing a defeat to former President Donald Trump as well as hardline Republicans in the US. Congress and progressive Democrats alike.
Voting to approve the package of alternative spending cuts and additional spending, the House’s bipartisan majority rejected an offer by Florida Republican Rep. Cory Mills of Port Orange to extend the debt limit by just one week to allow the Biden administration and Capitol Hill leadership to seek “a new deal.”
The deal reached by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the weekend extended Washington’s borrowing limit by $4 trillion through 2025. It also set limits on spending and work requirements for those who access federal programs like the Food Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP. . That part was one reason the legislation drew strong criticism and 46 defections, much of it from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
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US Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, admitted she had “questions and concerns” about the legislation. But he said he voted yes to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veteran’s benefits, health care for military members exposed to toxic chemicals from war and investments in climate change mitigation, as well as initiatives that Biden White House and Capitol Hill Democrats approved in 2021. and 2022.
“Republicans wanted severe cuts to almost every program that is a lifeline for Americans,” Frankel said. “This was a very intense negotiation. People would find it almost unimaginable what the Republicans wanted to eliminate. The demands were very severe. Very severe.”
Trump called for non-compliance while his allies in the Florida Congress demanded deep spending cuts
At a CNN town hall on May 10, Trump said the country’s $33 trillion debt is a “number that no one thought possible” and called for a debt default if the Biden White House did not agree to budget cuts.” massive”.
“I tell the Republicans, congressmen and senators, if they don’t make massive cuts, they’re going to have to default,” he said, although as president he said that raising the debt ceiling should not be used as a bargaining chip.
But Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill turned Trump’s call for default into a bluff by not capitulating to deep budget cuts prescribed in a spending bill passed by House Republicans in April. On Wednesday night, with the predetermined deadline just around the corner, a large majority of House Republicans (149 of 222) supported the revised measure with far fewer spending cuts.
Two of the 10 Florida Republicans who backed the legislation were US Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami and John Rutherford of Jacksonville.
Diaz-Balart said in a statement that McCarthy and House Republicans “reached a debt ceiling compromise that cuts unnecessary and out-of-control government spending while protecting seniors, veterans and the most vulnerable from our nation.” Rutherford said in a television interview that he supported the debt compromise because it reduced year-over-year spending as well as discretionary non-defense dollars.
Still, 10 other Florida House Republicans, including several who backed Trump, spoke out against the deal.
US Rep. Michael Waltz, a St. Augustine Beach Republican, said he would vote against the pact because it “doesn’t go far enough” in cutting spending. At the other end of the peninsula, the Republican US representative for Naples, Byron Donalds, has called for reducing US federal spending to pre-2019 pandemic levels.
Just north of Interstate 75, US Representative Vern Buchanan said late Tuesday that he, too, would oppose the debt deal. Other opponents included freshman US Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican from St. Petersburg, as well as Pensacola US Rep. Matt Gaetz, who bragged on Twitter that he was among the “only Republicans in Congress who have never voted to raise “the politics of the country. debt limit.
Gaetz also stated that if McCarthy were to advance legislation without the support of a “majority of the majority,” meaning 112 Republicans, it would amount to a “black letter violation” of the concessions the speaker made in January and would “likely trigger an immediate motion” to remove him from the highest post in the House. However, McCarthy garnered more than enough Republican votes to pass that threshold.
Florida Democrats voted overwhelmingly yes, saying their priority was to avoid a disastrous default.
The lone vote against among Florida Democrats was by US Rep. Federica Wilson of Miami. The other seven in the state delegation, including progressive US Rep. Maxwell Frost of Orlando, voted to approve.
First-term US Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fort Lauderdale, said the measure struck a necessary balance to avoid a breach of “a responsible spending plan.”
“What I have said over the past four months is that we must choose negotiations over default,” Moskowitz said in a statement. “Just as the American family had to cut back, the US government has to cut back.”
US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, added that the debt deal protects “veterans’ health care from Republican attacks and backdoor budget cuts” and will come on top of “deficit reductions of more than $1.7 trillion” under the Biden administration while still “creating 12 million jobs” from 2021.
“Default on our debt would be a dereliction of our duties as elected officials and would destroy America’s economic recovery,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “I am appalled that the Republicans have attempted to hold the economy hostage despite cleanly raising the debt ceiling three times under the Trump presidency.”
Frankel said the debt negotiations were “intense” and that he was annoyed that members of the Republican Party were recklessly willing to risk economic “devastation.” He insisted that a default could have cost millions of jobs, senior Social Security payments, losses in the stock markets, a recession and the “horrors of not paying our bills and losing our position in the world” and financial turmoil in the entire global economy.
Frankel said that if Democrats were in charge, they would have backed an increase in the debt ceiling with no strings attached.
“We would do what we have done in every Congress under every president, which is raise the debt ceiling. Pay our bills,” he said. “People need to know that there are extremists in the Republican Party in this Congress who have basically held the American people hostage. These are people who don’t believe in government and don’t care if we have an economic catastrophe. I don’t mind. They’re not even going to agree to their own party’s negotiated proposal. That’s what we’re dealing with.”
As for those in his party who were unhappy with the provisions of the legislation, Frankel said he understood and “recognized the seriousness” of some of its features.
“I think the president negotiated the best possible deal under the circumstances for the American people,” he said. “The president fought hard against the extreme MAGA Republicans who were going to give us a choice. Which was a devastating default on our debt that would have triggered a job-killing recession or very cruel cuts for the average American people. I think the President has done a very good job of trying to protect all of us.”
Antonio Fins is a business and politics editor at the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at [email protected]. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.