Raising the US debt ceiling foreshadows a bitter showdown between Republicans and Joe Biden

Raising the US debt ceiling foreshadows a bitter showdown between Republicans and Joe Biden

House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy spoke to reporters shortly after the bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling was passed.Image by AP

By one vote, he lost. After months of negotiations, Speaker Kevin McCarthy passed his first major bill through his Republican Party on Wednesday night. “We did our job,” McCarthy said afterward. It is a symbolic achievement of weapons of great consequence.

This act would control the total budget of the US government for the next ten years. In practice, this is a 14 percent reduction. The plan ends many measures on climate, conservation and education — all hobby horses for Democrats.

About the author
Thomas Rupp is an American reporter D Volkskrant. He lives in New York. He is the author of the book Laura H.

His law is unlikely to actually become policy. To do this, the proposal must first pass the Senate, where it would almost certainly fail due to a Democratic majority. In extreme cases, President Biden can still veto. Totally impossible, and Republicans understand that. They’re aiming for something else: getting Joe Biden to the negotiating table, with the U.S. economy at stake.

A dangerous impasse

The central issue is the increasing national debt of the United States. Each year, Congress sets the debt ceiling, the maximum amount the United States can borrow. That ceiling is invariably raised as the country borrows more each year to keep operating. The current debt ceiling is expected to be tapped this summer.

In a scenario where Congress votes against an increase, the U.S. government will literally run out of money — with disastrous consequences. Republicans led by Kevin McCarthy are now using that situation as leverage to force concessions from the president.

House Republicans say they want to vote only for increases in exchange for far-reaching spending cuts, making it impossible to implement Biden’s policies in areas that matter to him. The result is a dangerous impasse. “Worse than irresponsible,” the president called the barter.

Backlash for Biden

For Joe Biden, McCarthy’s victory on Wednesday was a setback. The Republican president has shown that he can align his motivational division beyond expectations. Republicans always say no to his plans, but he has insisted earlier that he offers nothing in return. Now such an alternative is ready, albeit completely indigestible to Democrats.

It took McCarthy months to come up with a plan that could swallow his deeply divided faction. With a narrow majority in the House, five votes against were enough to defeat the bill in the House. In the end, four congressmen voted against it on Wednesday, all far-right.

The adopted motion has put the President on the defensive. “I will meet with McCarthy,” Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday. But not about raising the debt ceiling. It’s non-negotiable.’

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