The debt ceiling agreement between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden cleared its first major hurdle on Wednesday when Democrats stepped in to allow the bill to pass a vote on the rules.
Now the deal, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, heads to a final vote on Wednesday night.
Democrats had long insisted that it would be up to Republicans to vote yes on the bill’s rule – but that they would decide in the final vote.
“It’s very simple: the majority is responsible for passing the rule,” Democratic Whip Katherine Clark told reporters on Wednesday morning.
But after it became clear Republicans would not be able to clear the rule on their own, a rush of Democrats headed to the chamber to change their vote, allowing the deal to move forward. to final approval.
The vote on the rule passed 241-187: 29 Republicans opposed it and 52 Democrats voted for the rule.
More Republicans are expected to oppose the bill in a final vote and more Democrats are expected to support it then.
Members of the ideological far right and far left have expressed opposition to the deal, while Republicans are lining up to oppose it faster than Democrats.
Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said McCarthy promised to get about 150 GOP votes, meaning McCarthy had factored in about 70 defections.
Democrats are expected to step in and deliver the rest of the votes. Jeffries said he plans to vote for the deal on Wednesday, but declined to tell reporters how many Democratic votes can be expected.
The debt ceiling deal between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden cleared its first major hurdle on Wednesday when Democrats stepped in to allow the bill to pass a vote on the rules
The vote on the rule passed 241-187: 29 Republicans opposed and 52 Democrats voted for the rule
The House must first vote on the rule to move the bill forward, and then proceed to a final vote on the bill.
Democratic leaders have insisted that it’s up to Republicans to pass the rule, but Jeffries said that when it comes to voting on the final bill, Democrats are “going to make sure we don’t do no default”.
The bill has been endorsed by at least the 64-member Problem Solvers Caucus, made up of members from both parties, and the NDP’s 100-member Coalition.
Representative Cori Bush, a member of the squad, announced that she would oppose the agreement to strip Republicans of the precedent to negotiate budget cuts each time the debt ceiling is raised.
“I will be voting NO because St. Louis deserves an unconditional debt ceiling lift. We must break the vicious and absurd cycle where Republicans hold our economy hostage every few years,” she wrote on Twitter.
On the right, Texas Rep. Pat Fallon said he would oppose the deal: “Why?” Because the bill: – Won’t repeal billions for the Biden-armed IRS – Keeps in place Biden’s student loan bailout for gender studies degrees – Fails to ensure that our spending on defense keep pace with the bidenflation.
Other progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY, Ro Khanna, Calif., and Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal have all said they will oppose the deal.
McCarthy must tread a cautious line in ushering in a deal with Democrats that will avoid a calamitous default and retain his presidency.
Some right-wing Freedom Caucus members who balked at suspending the debt ceiling until Jan. 1, 2025, as agreed to in the deal, floated the idea of invoking a motion to rescind — in which a member can force a vote in the House. floor to oust McCarthy.
Chief negotiator Rep. Garret Graves tore at Freedom Caucus members who publicly denounced the deal even before the text was released.
Asked about Roy’s criticism, Graves told reporters “there was a certain loss of confidence”.
“There really were, and I’m really offended.”
Representative Chip Roy said there would be a “calculation” if the deal passed, and “then we’re going to have to regroup and rethink the whole leadership arrangement.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Bishop, RN.C., called the deal a “*** sandwich” and insisted the motion to rescind was on the table.
On Wednesday, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said McCarthy “should be concerned” about a motion to rescind after the deal was approved.
“He will win the vote tonight, but after that vote we will have discussions about whether there should be a motion to rescind or not,” he told CNN.
Jeffries hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Democrats will step in to save McCarthy’s presidency, fearing the Republican alternative will be less pragmatic.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Jeffries told reporters, adding that Democrats hadn’t discussed a “hypothesis.”