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House approves debt ceiling bill, sends it to Senate

  • The House approved a bill to raise the debt ceiling and avert a default
  • Some in GOP criticized bill for not doing more to cut spending
  • Democrats expressed concern with provisions for expanded work requirements

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(NewsNation) — The House of Representatives approved the deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling Wednesday evening, sending the compromise between President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy to the Senate days before the country is unable to pay its bills.

The 314-117 vote came after a late bipartisan push earlier in the day, when the House approved a rule allowing lawmakers to introduce the bill. 

The measure garnered bipartisan support, with 165 Democrats joining 149 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation that sets caps on discretionary spending through 2025. It also adds stricter work requirements for food stamps, claws back unused COVID-19 funds, includes energy permitting reform and ends the federal pause on student loan repayments.

During debate on the bill, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy insisted his party was working to “give America hope” as he launched into a late evening speech extolling the bill’s budget cuts, which he said were needed to curb Washington’s “runaway spending.”

His Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, said his party would “continue to put people over politics.”

Earlier in the day, the House approved a rule that allowed lawmakers to introduce the bill by a vote of 241-187. But the procedural vote wasn’t without drama.

McCarthy needed help from the other side of the aisle after 29 GOP members of Congress voted against the rule. In the end, 52 Democratic lawmakers joined the Republican majority to advance the bill.

Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continued to voice their opposition.

A total of 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats voted against the bill Wednesday night.

For the first time, a Republican lawmaker publicly supported removing McCarthy from his post. During a House Freedom Caucus news conference Tuesday, Rep. Dan Bishop raised his hand to signify that he’d vote for a motion to oust McCarthy over the debt ceiling bill he struck with Biden.

Far-right conservatives, like Bishop, have criticized the bill for not doing more to cut spending and complained other provisions touted by Republican leadership had loopholes.

The bill narrowly passed a vote of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday night, with Reps. Ralph Norman and Chip Roy voting against it. Those GOP hardliners said this deal normalizes high spending and doesn’t do enough to cut spending.

Instead, it suspends the debt limit for two years.

Norman told NewsNation on Wednesday morning that he doesn’t believe Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s June 5 drop-dead deadline for the U.S. to run out of money to pay its bills and believes Congress could have scrapped this bill and started over.

“There’s a reason that you will have over 100 Democrats vote for this bill tonight. I opposed it in the Rules Committee,” Norman said. “If we would have had one more vote, we could have killed it there and sent them back to the negotiating table.”

Meanwhile, there’s real furor from Democrats over this deal, too.

They’ve expressed concern with provisions that include expanded work requirements for some, excluding veterans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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