House Republican Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik declares a complete victory over President Biden in the debt ceiling message war and praises the “strong leadership” of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in making cross the finish line to the debt agreement despite Republican resistance.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a deal with Biden to raise the debt ceiling through 2025, recover $29 billion in unspent COVID funds and $21 billion from the $80 billion stock market from the IRS and suspend Biden’s student loan repayments. But hardline conservatives, including those in the House Freedom Caucus, said the 99-page bill doesn’t go far enough to cut federal spending and is a “blank check” for Democrats.
71 GOP defectors voted “no” on the bill’s final passage, along with a handful of progressives. As a result, McCarthy was forced to rely on 165 Democratic “yes” votes to counter the GOP’s “no” to push the bill through by a 314-117 vote.
Stefanik, RN.Y., told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that passing the deal is a “historic victory for President Kevin McCarthy, but especially for the American people.”
House Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik told DailyMail.com Republicans won a big victory over messaging
“I think it’s very important that we work in the House to defend fiscal responsibility. And this is a big win for Speaker Kevin McCarthy and for all House Republicans,” she said.
“So despite the mainstream media trying to sow discord, this is a win on all counts. We have cleared the clocks of Joe Biden and the Democrats on this issue on messaging and on political wins.
When asked if she had discussed the deal with former President Donald Trump, which she had already endorsed for the presidency in 2024, Stefanik kept her cards close to her chest.
“I speak to President Trump regularly and will not comment,” she replied to DailyMail.com.
Trump has been remarkably quiet on the deal, despite fellow 2024 GOP presidential candidates openly criticizing the legislation.
Stefanik also blamed “mainstream media trying to sow discord” for members of the House Freedom Caucus eventually calling for a “motion to vacate” to strip McCarthy of his chairman’s gavel.
Disgruntled House Freedom Caucus members Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Dan Bishop, RN.C., floated the idea of possibly stripping McCarthy of his leadership position by calling for a “vacancy motion.”
As part of a previous deal to become president, McCarthy agreed to a rules change that allowed a single-member motion to stand down. That means all it takes is a congressman from either party to call the motion and strip the president of his gavel if a simple majority votes in favor.
Fellow Freedom Caucus Republican Ken Buck, R-Colo., went further on Wednesday, saying McCarthy “will win the vote tonight, but after this vote we will have discussions about whether there should be a motion cancellation or not”.
But Rep. Ralph Norman, R.S.C., told reporters that although McCarthy had “lost some confidence,” he was “not going,” when asked about the evacuation motion.
She said after Tuesday night’s three-hour House Republican Conference meeting, she knew the GOP would get the deal done.
“The facts are these: This is the largest deficit reduction in history,” Stefanik said.
“It’s win after win, whether it’s deficit reduction, whether it’s work demands, whether it’s SNAP reforms. This is a historic victory, not only for Republicans, but especially for the American people.
Stefanik also responded to far-right criticism that the deal did not do enough to recoup the 87,000 new IRS officers hired under Biden’s Inflation Cut Act. The bill cuts $21 billion from the $80 billion IRA allotment to the IRS and immediately takes back $1.4 billion.
“There are no new IRS officers this year, we will continue to fight these battles in the appropriations process,” Stefanik told DailyMail.com.
“And we will definitely rise to fund Joe Biden’s full army of IRS agents,” Stefanik continued.
The McCarthy-Biden deal would require Congress to approve 12 annual spending bills or face a return to spending limits from the previous year.
As for the $4 trillion spending estimate that holdout Republicans are touting as a reason to vote against the bill, Rep. Dusty Johnson called it “one of opponents’ most heartfelt arguments.” .
“This is a major victory,” he insisted, saying the Limit, Save, Grow Act passed by the House and the McCarthy-Biden deal would “add trillions to the debt.”
Rep. Jason Smith, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, added that “nowhere” in the 99-page bill does it say the debt limit will be raised to $4 trillion – a key talking point of GOP defectors.
“What this shows is that it passes the January 2025 date,” he told DailyMail.com, also saying Congress would only hit the $4 trillion figure if the Congress appropriated these expenses.
“That’s where the real fight is with every member of Congress,” he said of the appropriations process.
An aide to Stefanik told DailyMail.com that by sticking to “winning message issues” supported by the majority of Americans, including energy, unspent COVID funds and work demands, the GOP beat Biden on key points of the deal.
At one point, Stefanik dissuaded members from trying to include health care in the negotiations because they don’t have clear support and it’s harder to get messages across.
By clearly defining how Biden and House Democrats ’caused the debt crisis’ with their Cut Inflation Act and pointing out the President’s previous support for work demands when he was a senator and his support in the negotiations, the Republicans had the upper hand, Stefanik added.
Stefanik stepped up to smaller member messaging meetings and the newly formed “Tiger Teams” that were deployed on media calls to push GOP messaging.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck a deal over the weekend with President Biden to raise the debt ceiling through 2025
The leader of the House Democrats – Rep. Hakeem Jeffries – had pledged Democratic support for the Fiscal Responsibility Act and told reporters on Wednesday he would vote for it himself.
Additionally, the New Democrat Coalition, which has more than 100 members made up of center-left Democrats in the House, said its members would support the deal in a statement Monday.
Progressives had expressed opposition to some of the proposed changes to work requirements in social programs, including food stamps.
The Biden-McCarthy deal addresses a longstanding Republican priority of expanding work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Although there are already work requirements for most able-bodied adults between 18 and 49, the bill raises the age limit to 54, but has an expiration date and would lower the age to 49 years in 2030.
The agreement would also make changes to the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families, which provides cash assistance to families with children.
Without going as far as the bill passed by the House had proposed, the agreement would make adjustments to a credit that allows states to require fewer recipients to work, updating and readjusting the credit to make it harder for states to avoid.