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White House confident Congress will pass debt limit agreement

The House is expected to vote to increase the debt limit on Wednesday, but there is pushback on both sides of the aisle.
White House confident Congress will pass debt limit agreement
Posted at 9:08 AM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 09:10:12-04

Bharat Ramamurti, White House National Economic Council deputy director, told Scripps News he expects the vote to raise the nation’s debt limit will have enough support in Congress. 

His optimism comes as members of Congress on opposite ends of the spectrum have expressed their displeasure over the agreement hatched between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. While the agreement appears to have support among moderates, staunch conservatives and liberals have voiced disagreement. 

Ramamurti said the agreement “is a good fair deal that has something for everybody to like in it.”

“What you had here was a good faith negotiation between the president and the speaker, but it reflects the reality of a divided government between Republicans and Democrats and one of the good things here is it removes the uncertainty of the debt ceiling debate returning in the near future,” he said. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has estimated the U.S. will reach its debt limit on June 5. She and others have warned of dire consequences for the economy if the U.S. is unable to meet its obligations. 

SEE MORE: Seniors concerned about Social Security amid debt limit uncertainty

A vote on the debt limit is expected in the House on Wednesday. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the coming days. 

Both President Biden and McCarthy claimed victories. The White House sees the agreement as protecting key priorities from Republican proposals. McCarthy views this as reining in spending by the administration.

The bill reduces the number of people eligible for a number of government programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

“I've talked to many about whether they're for or against the bill,” McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday. I'm not sure what in the bill people are concerned about. It is the largest savings of $2.1 trillion we've ever had. Now, if people are against saving all that money or work reforms and welfare reforms, I can't do anything about it."

While McCarthy claimed victory, the White House has said protecting Social Security and Medicare were top priorities in negotiations. The White House also said it left key initiatives, like clean energy credits, intact. 

“This is a fairly typical divided government budget deal, but ideally we would not have this kind of brinkmanship,” Ramamurti said.


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