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House Republicans, fighting for votes, change debt limit plan

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders were pushing to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling while cutting spending and articulating major elements of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda on Wednesday, after late-night haggling over revised fiscal plans in an effort to win the top 10 votes in their ranks. diehards.

The measure, which would cut federal spending by nearly 14% over a decade, would eliminate some of Mr. Biden’s clean energy tax credits and student loan cancellation programs, and impose stricter work requirements on federal nutrition and health programs. It will be dead by the time it reaches the Democratic-led Senate and White House, which Mr. Biden’s advisers have warned will override his veto.

But Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose reputation and influence are at stake in the toughest test he has faced since taking office, described the plan as a way to strengthen his hand as he tries to force a debt settlement with the president. confrontation.

In a closed-door meeting with Republicans in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday morning, Mr. McCarthy implored his conference to support the measure so he could open negotiations with Mr. Biden, according to a person who attended the meeting. And described his views in the comments on the condition of anonymity.

Mr McCarthy wants a vote as early as Wednesday after agreeing to major changes to secure the vote. He agreed to waive the provision of a rollback tax credit enacted by the Biden administration for ethanol, a change demanded by a group of Midwesterners. He also agreed to introduce work requirements for Medicaid and food stamp recipients a year earlier, in 2024, bowing to far-right lawmakers who insisted on stricter public welfare provisions.

Mr Biden is demanding that Republicans unconditionally raise the nation’s borrowing limit – expected to be reached as soon as this summer – without congressional action. Without a deal, the US would default on its debt, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

With a razor-thin majority and Democrats expected to unite against it, Republican leaders can hardly afford to defect.

Democrats have staunchly opposed the Republican legislation, assailing it for sweeping cuts to federal programs, tougher job requirements for Medicaid and food stamp eligibility and eliminating regulatory programs. They described the plan as tantamount to using the U.S. economy to satisfy far-right policy demands and condemned last-minute changes.

“My analysis of this new program is that it’s tougher, it’s more damaging, it’s worse, it’s even meaner,” said Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the rules committee. “The problem you have with this bill is that it’s not screwing people over fast enough.”

House Republicans began amending the bill in the early hours of Wednesday morning after more than half a dozen opponents spoke out against it.

“I’m skeptical of Speaker McCarthy’s debt ceiling proposal,” said Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs wrote on twitter. “Getting off the fiscal cliff under a Republican 60 mph plan or a Democrat 80 mph plan will lead to the same thing: a terrible crash.”

anne carney Contribution report.

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