Biden Rips GOP Priorities as McCarthy Unveils Debt Package

Legislation has little chance, but speaker uses plan to pressure White House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2023 7:15 PM CDT
McCarthy Debuts $1.5T Debt Bill as Biden Rips GOP Priorities
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy holds an event Monday to mark 100 days of the Republican majority in the House at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled a sweeping package Wednesday that would raise the nation's debt limit by $1.5 trillion into next year while imposing a long list of Republican priorities. They include new spending caps, work requirements for recipients of government aid, and others that are sure to be nonstarters for the White House, the AP reports. McCarthy announced that House Republicans were introducing their legislation just as President Biden was taking the stage at a union hall in Maryland to warn of a looming fiscal crisis if Congress fails to take action to raise the debt ceiling, now at $31 trillion, to keep paying the nation's bills.

The 320-page "Limit, Save, Grow Act" debuted by House Republicans has almost no chance of becoming law, but McCarthy is using the legislation as a strategic move, a starting point to draw Biden into negotiations that the White House has, so far, been unwilling to have over the debt crisis. "President Biden is skipping town to deliver a speech in Maryland rather than sitting down to address the debt ceiling," McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor. The package was swiftly embraced by leading Republicans as McCarthy has worked intently to unite his majority. A vote in the House is expected next week, in hopes of pressuring Biden to respond. Democrats in the House and Senate are almost certain to be opposed.

In Maryland, Biden attacked the GOP's emerging trade-off plans to raise the nation's debt limit only in exchange for spending cuts and other policy concessions, declaring that Republican lawmakers are threatening a historic default on US obligations "unless I agree to all these wacko notions they have." Standing in a steel garage and workshop, per the AP, Biden pointedly noted the contrast between the two approaches, telling members of International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 77, that while, "I'm here in the union hall with you, Speaker McCarthy just got finished speaking to Wall Street two days ago." He added: "Folks, that's the MAGA economic agenda: spending cuts for working- and middle-class folks ... with tax cuts for those at the top of the pile." (More debt ceiling stories.)

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