The House of Representatives voted 314-117 in favor of a deal to suspend the debt ceiling and cut spending Wednesday night in a bipartisan vote.
For Context: President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) struck a deal over the weekend that would avert a debt default, and the pair spent the first half of the week selling the plan to their parties. The compromise agreement suspends the debt ceiling through January 1, 2025, just after the 2024 elections.
The Deal: In exchange for suspending the debt ceiling, Biden agreed to a portion of the spending cuts on McCarthy's wish list. This includes a $21.4 billion reduction of the $80 billion IRS spending surge approved in the Inflation Reduction Act, the rescission of $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds, additional work requirements to qualify for federal assistance programs, a resumption of student loan payments, and more.
"Neither side got everything it wanted," a statement from Biden read, "That's the responsibility of governing."
The Congressional Budget Office estimates this deal will reduce the nation's debt by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, while the additional work requirements for federal aid programs will increase federal spending by $2.1 billion over the next decade.
Reception: The deal left the flanks of both parties unsatisfied, with both Progressive Caucus members and Freedom Caucus members breaking with leadership to oppose the deal. Despite opposition, the House of Representatives approved the deal in a 314-117 vote.
The deal now heads to the Senate, where party leaders are determined to pass it before Monday, the deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when the United States faces a debt default.
How the Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum are typically framing the deal as a victory for the middle, with moderate members of both parties working to avert an economic crisis. Left-rated outlets are highlighting how the debt ceiling deal could threaten McCarthy's speakership position, with a potential vote to vacate looming from dissatisfied Freedom Caucus members. Right-rated outlets are comparing the Biden-McCarthy deal to the initial bill passed by House Republicans, framing the compromise as a watered-down alternative.
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- Opinion from the Center: "Somehow, Biden and McCarthy managed to resurrect the art of compromise in an extraordinarily uncompromising time."
Snippets from the Left
"Threatening default — and we came within days of it this time — in order to get a deal like this is like threatening to detonate a bomb beneath the bank unless the teller gives you $150 and a commemorative mug. It’s a bizarre mismatch of means and ends."
"The debt deal is still pending a final vote, but odds are good that it will cross the finish line, a big win for Biden because it removes hostage-taking for the next two years. It’s also great for McCarthy, who is handling a big moment well in his shaky speakership."
Snippets from the Right
"At first glance, it appears to have strong spending caps, welfare work requirements, and regulatory reforms that GOP lawmakers can sell to conservative voters. However, a closer inspection reveals several loopholes for Democrats to quell any significant fears from their own voter base.."
"At a time when we’re staring down the barrel of a once-unthinkable $32 trillion national debt, our leaders are attempting to pull another fast one on the very people that they’re supposed to be fighting for. Exactly no one in Washington was elected to abdicate responsibility by putting off difficult decisions for another day, but this proposal does exactly that."
Snippets from the Center
"So long as McCarthy retains the gavel, he and Biden will likely face additional future obstacles over the next 18 months. While those close to both men don’t see them as fast friends in the wake of the past month of negotiations, there are indications that they can work together and find common ground."
"The passage of the bill marked a third key win for McCarthy and a setback for his detractors, who earlier questioned whether he would get the votes to become speaker back in January and doubted he could guide a debt-ceiling bill through the House in April, much less a bipartisan debt-ceiling deal in May."