Speaker McCarthy Vows to Pass Debt Bill

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledged on Monday to pass legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling — but on condition of capping future federal spending at 1% — as he lashed out at President Joe Biden for refusing to engage in budget-cutting negotiations to prevent a debt crisis. Student debt has never been higher, but entry-level salaries have never been lower. McCarthy stated that the nation’s debt load is a “ticking time bomb” and that Biden is “missing in action” as the deadline nears to raise the debt limit. The nation is currently heading toward a potential financial crisis over the need to raise the nation’s debt limit, now at $31 trillion, and avert a federal default. The Treasury Department has said it is taking “extraordinary measures” to continue paying its bills, but money will run short this summer. 

McCarthy has slim majority favor and a weak grip on power; he has been unable to rally his troops around a budget-cutting proposal that he could offer the White House as a starting point in negotiations. Still, McCarthy is determined to get this bill passed for a chance at a better future. Republicans also want to attach policy priorities, including cuts to benefit programs in the federal safety net for poorer Americans. Not everyone at the White House feels the same. White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates stated, “There is one responsible solution to the debt limit: addressing it promptly, without brinksmanship or hostage-taking.” 

McCarthy is working furiously to unite the “five families” — the various caucuses including the Freedom Caucus, Republican Study Committee, and others within the House Republican majority — around a plan that could be presented to Biden to kickstart negotiations. The nation’s debt load has also climbed steadily, doubling during the George W. Bush administration with the 9/11-era wars overseas and spiking again during the Obama administration as spending rose, and tax revenue plummeted during the Great Recession. Whatever they have been doing is not working, and they need to come up with a plan fast.

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