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Dems call out GOP’s debt ceiling hypocrisy
“It is absolutely astounding, especially when we're talking about some of their own constituents who will be hurt by what they're doing,” Rep. Brendan Boyle said to Supercreator.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
House Republicans on Wednesday voted 217-215 for a bill to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion and disinvest from popular social programs, including those that provide food assistance and health care to low-income people and older adults.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters after the bill’s passage that we underestimated his ability to get it done while recalling the grueling four-day, multi-ballot election he endured in January to secure the top gavel as proof of his political resilience.
“Just as it took me 15 rounds to win speaker, the one thing I have promised the American public: I will never give up on you,” he said. “So what we did was raise the debt limit, stop the wasteful Washington spending and curb inflation and put us on a path that we can control.”
The speaker’s bravado is stunning when you consider that to make himself right, his leadership team had to cut early-morning deals on Wednesday with conservative members to stiffen work requirements for SNAP and Medicaid benefits and preserve the biofuel tax credits that were passed in the Inflation Reduction Act last year for a handful of midwestern Republicans.
Ahead of the vote, House Democrats, who unanimously opposed the bill along with four Republican defections, called out GOP leadership for bringing the bill to the floor outside of “regular order,” a deliberative process that requires hearings and markups within the committees of jurisdiction before a final vote. House Republicans pilloried former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top-down style only to apply it to their biggest legislative project to date.
Democrats also attacked the substance of the bill.
“I will say when it comes to House Republicans, whether they’re more moderate or more MAGA Freedom Caucus types, their enthusiasm for beating up on poor people never ceases to amaze me,” Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee said to Supercreator. “It is absolutely astounding, especially when we're talking about some of their own constituents who will be hurt by what they're doing.”
Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire, who chairs the New Democrat Coalition, said that the same GOP members who voted against the Inflation Reduction Act have attended ribbon cuttings or announced projects in their districts funded by the legislation.
“I think you have to call that out when you see it,” she said to Supercreator.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, who represents Seattle, said that the cuts House Republicans are proposing to the social safety net won’t go as far as raising taxes on wealthy individuals and big corporations.
“The reality is that they’re willing to have those subsidies for the [Paycheck Protection Program] for example, which we all supported in a bipartisan way,” she said. “But somehow when it comes to working people being able to qualify for food stamps — 1.7 million moms and kids that are going to get thrown off of food stamps — suddenly, that’s a bridge that’s too far when in fact even that cut alone wouldn’t do nealrly as much as reversing the 2017 tax scam.”
First-term Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Texas serves on the House Agriculture Committee, which has oversight of the SNAP program, told Supercreator that House Republicans have decided that they are going to put the entire budget on the backs of poor and unhealthy people.
“Because when you start talking about work requirements, they're talking about our elderly folk, they're talking about our people that are enduring still the lingering effects of COVID-19 and telling them that they've got to now go out and work or our veterans,” she said.
Now that McCarthy has passed his bill, the hope is that it forces President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats to negotiate a compromise, which they’ve rejected so far in favor of a “clean” increase of the debt limit and separate conversations about next year’s budget.
“We are not a deadbeat nation,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “We pay our bills. Congressional Republicans must do that again now and act to avoid a default.” (Goldman Sachs on Wednesday estimated the deadline to raise the debt ceiling is late July.)
Beyond that so-called “X date,” this debate will reverberate well into next year’s election. Democrats are confident voters will hold House Republicans accountable.
“Vulnerable Republicans will face the consequences for supporting a bill that increases the risk of recession, raises prices on everyday families, tampers with seniors’ Social Security, rips away food security and health care from everyday people, and threatens community safety,” Tommy Garcia, spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement. “By siding with extreme MAGA Republicans and embracing a plan that would cause a catastrophic default in order to force an extreme, out-of-touch agenda, vulnerable Republicans are helping build the case against themselves for 2024.”
Meanwhile, Boyle added the party is looking forward to amplifying this contrast on the campaign trail.
“Every election is about one side’s statement of the case and pressing that argument versus the other side,” he said. “So it is incumbent upon us to constantly point that out. But fortunately, we have the facts on our side.”
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IN THE KNOW
••• Twitter CEO and Tesla founder Elon Musk on Wednesday was at the US Capitol on Wednesday to meet with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer about artificial intelligence. Schumer also said the two spoke about the Tesla plant in his upstate New York but declined to comment if they discussed Twitter or social media regulations.
••• House Republicans this afternoon will unveil a border security package that leadership plans to bring to the floor next month. The legislation was originally on the list of bills Republican Leader Steve Scalise hoped to pass in the first two weeks of the new Congress but had to shelve to smooth divisions among members and secure the votes to pass it. The bill is expected to die in the Senate.
••• Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Wednesday voted with all 49 Senate Republicans to overturn an Environmental Protection Agency regulation for trucks. “When our country faces record-high inflation and vulnerable supply chains, we cannot let the EPA continue to seize unrestrained power and create regulations that devastate our economy,” he said in a statement. “I am proud to support this resolution to stop this government overreach.” The White House said President Biden would veto the legislation.
••• Justin Jones — one of the three Tennessee lawmakers targeted by state legislators for leading a gun violence prevention demonstration on the floor of the statehouse — said he urged President Biden to sign an executive order to declare gun violence a public health emergency during a meeting at the White House on Monday. Jones, who made the revelation during a press conference with local leaders to raise awareness on nationwide attacks on democracy, was also a guest at the Congressional Black Caucus’s weekly meeting, per a source.
••• The White House convened a meeting to discuss proposals to strengthen protections for survivors of non-consensually distributed intimate images and hold offenders accountable. Attendees included bipartisan state legislators from 12 states, survivors, legal experts and practitioners. In 2020, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Thom Tillis of North Carolina introduced legislation that would allow NDII survivors to seek compensation and relief in federal court.
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All times Eastern:
President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing (9 am) and participate in a Take Your Child to Work Day greet (12:15 pm). He will also participate in a virtual campaign call with grassroots supporters (6:45 pm).
Vice President Harris will preside over an address to a joint meeting of Congress by President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea at the US Capitol (11 am) and host a state luncheon with Secretary of State Antony Blinken for Yoon and South Korean First Lady Kim Keon Hee at the State Department (1:20 pm). Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will also participate in a virtual campaign call with grassroots supporters (6:45 pm).
The House is in (9 am) and will convene to receive President Yoon for the joint meeting (11 am). First and last votes are expected at 4 pm.
The Senate is in (12 pm) and will vote to advance the Equal Rights Amendment and Anthony Devos Johnstone to be US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit (12:30 pm).
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