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House to vote on McCarthy-Biden compromise debt deal, a key test for speaker


After weeks of negotiations between the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the House is set to vote Wednesday night on a compromise bill to lift the debt ceiling, as lawmakers race against the clock to avoid an unprecedented default that could come as early as June 5.
The bipartisan deal would pair a suspension of the debt limit for nearly two years to a package of spending cuts. It would establish spending caps for the federal budget while also making policy changes, including: adjustments to work requirements for some federal assistance programs like food stamps, a claw-back of unspent COVID-19 funds and an overhaul of permitting reviews for energy projects.
The 99-page bill appears to be on track to pass, albeit with significant defections from the right and left. It cleared a key procedural hurdle Tuesday evening after it advanced through the House Rules Committee by a vote of 7-6.
House Republicans emerged from a closed-door conference meeting late Tuesday night signaling the “majority of the majority” of their conference will ultimately support the bill.
The bill’s passage, and any fallout from members of his conference, is one of McCarthy’s first major tests as speaker.
On Tuesday, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus slammed the deal, arguing it doesn’t go far enough on spending cuts and doesn’t align closely enough with a bill they passed in April.
“No matter what happens, there is going to be a reckoning,” Texas Rep. Chip Roy told reporters at an afternoon press conference with the caucus.
Comments from the caucus opened up questions about whether members’ displeasure over the bill could lead to a motion to vacate — a concession McCarthy made in January in his quest to become speaker that allows any one House member to offer a resolution to remove the speaker.
McCarthy and his allies say the bill is the best possible deal conservatives could get in divided government. What happened behind closed doors seems to have tamped down a possible ousting of McCarthy as speaker
McCarthy and members of his negotiating team defended the deal to members of the conference during a closed-door meeting Tuesday night.
South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace said the speaker’s arguments weren’t convincing.
“It didn’t change my heart or my mind because I know where the American people are. The American people want to see us cut spending. This bill does not do that,” she said as she left the meeting. She said talk of a motion to vacate the speaker is “premature.”
Two of the most vocal opponents of McCarthy’s role in the deal, Roy and fellow Freedom Caucus member Dan Bishop of North Carolina wouldn’t discuss McCarthy’s future as speaker with reporters.

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