House Speaker Kevin McCarthy outlined legislation to lift the debt ceiling on Wednesday, as tensions heat up between Republicans and the White House with a looming deadline to avoid default.
In a speech from the House floor on Wednesday, the California Republican introduced the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which he said would “responsibly” raise the debt limit into 2024, while saving trillions of dollars.
McCarthy said the legislation would accomplish the goals by returning discretionary spending to fiscal 2022 levels and limiting the growth of spending to 1% per year. The bill would also “claw back” unspent money allocated for COVID-19, McCarthy explained, while targeting other areas, like IRS funding, “green giveaways” for companies and student loan forgiveness.
McCarthy took the opportunity to criticize President Joe Biden along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for refusing to negotiate spending cuts as part of debt limit negotiations.
“Their extreme positions risk provoking the very crisis they claim to want to avoid,” McCarthy said. “They need to sit down, negotiate and address this crisis. Now that we’ve introduced a clear plan for a responsible debt limit increase, they have no more excuse – and refuse to negotiate.”
Earlier this week, Schumer took aim at McCarthy for his approach to the debt limit, after the speaker kicked off a new phase of the fight over the debt ceiling with remarks at the New York Stock Exchange.
“One thing is clear from this morning’s theater at the New York Stock Exchange: Democrats want to avoid defaulting on our country’s debts,” Schumer said. “Meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy continues to bumble our country toward a catastrophic default, which would cause the economy to crash, cause monumental job loss and drastically raise costs for the American people.”
The bill would enable the country to meet its financial obligations until 2024. But finding the votes in a narrow majority to approve the measure without bipartisan backing will likely prove to be McCarthy’s toughest challenge yet.If McCarthy can find the votes in the House, the legislation still appears doomed in the Democrat-controlled Senate. But for McCarthy, the bill’s passage would likely serve as leverage in his talks with the White House, which have stalled in recent weeks.
Biden and McCarthy last sat down in early February. But the White House has insisted that Republicans must reveal their budget before another meeting can take place, while McCarthy has criticized the president in recent days for refusing to meet and negotiate.
“President Biden is skipping town to deliver a speech in Maryland rather than sitting down to address the debt ceiling,” McCarthy said on Wednesday. “He’s been avoiding the issue for 77 straight days and counting.”
During Biden’s remarks in Maryland, the president called out McCarthy’s proposal.
“Let’s be clear: A