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Jeffries rails against GOP mods in debt limit debate
“Ultimately, they are going to have to answer for their hypocrisy,” the top House Democrat said about the moderates who voted for the Republican spending cuts last week.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Creators and members of Congress share something in common: Both groups usually require a hard deadline to get meaningful work done.
And this week, lawmakers are expected to hear from the Treasury Department on when it will reach the “X date” — the actual day when it will run out of extraordinary measures to continue borrowing money to pay the US’s bills without Congress raising the debt limit.
In the meantime, congressional Democrats and the White House are still demanding House Republicans increase the amount of debt the country can take on without preconditions, as was the case three times during the Trump administration.
House Republicans, on the other hand, are insistent that the only way they’ll agree to lift the debt ceiling is in exchange for drastic spending cuts to social programs that low-income people, older adults and veterans rely on to make ends meet. And after some clandestine deal-making between Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership team and competing factions of his conference, he was able to cobble together the votes to pass a plan formalizing their position.
Much of the focus was on the House conservatives who refused to back the bill unless the work requirements for food stamps kicked in next fiscal year instead of the following or the “corn caucus,” a group of Iowa Republicans who withheld their vote to protect ethanol subsidies that were passed in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act that all House Republicans voted against.
But for House Democrats, it’s the moderate members of the GOP conference who also share the responsibility for the legislative stalemate Washington finds itself in.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries on Friday told reporters he’s unsurprised that the moderates fell in line, adding that these members talk a good game but at the end of the day always vote with House conservatives.
“That’s been the case throughout the 118th Congress on bill after bill after bill,” he said. “And that’s going to be a decision at the end of the day for their constituents to make about why there are members of the House of Representatives who either at home or on TV talk like moderates and then always here in Washington, DC vote with the extreme MAGA Republicans.”
“Ultimately, they are going to have to answer for their hypocrisy.”
Jeffries’s critique is part of the House Democrats’ broader strategy to reclaim the majority by focusing on vulnerable Republicans who flipped seats in districts President Joe Biden won.
“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,” Tommy Garica, spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement last week.
But the outcome of next year’s election may be determined by who voters ultimately blame for hurtling the country toward the brink of defaulting on its debt for the first time in U.S. history.
“Our position will continue to be that the only responsible thing to do with respect to avoiding a catastrophic default on our debt is to do what has consistently been done on the Democratic presidents and Republican presidents which is to make sure that America pays our bills,” Jeffries said. “That is the only responsible position at this particular point in time now.”
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IN THE KNOW
••• The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sold First Republic Bank to JPMorgan Chase in a rescue deal to end the US banking crisis caused by the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in March. The deal is a culmination of weekend negotiations as regulators worked to find a solution before the US stock markets opened. Read the official statement
••• Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota renewed her call for Congress to pass a bill to address the rise of Islamaphobia after a man was arrested for arson at two Minneapolis mosques and vandalizing her district office. “We are witnessing an epidemic of hate against the Muslim community and other religious minorities in Minnesota and globally right now. This campaign of terror is designed to keep us fearful and divided,” Omar said on Sunday in a statement. “As Muslim-Americans and as Minnesotans, we will not be terrorized. We will continue to stand united against bigotry because love is stronger than hate.”
••• Democratic Reps. Adriano Espaillat of New York and Joaquin Castro of Texas and Sen. Alex Padilla reintroduced a bill that would prevent past expunged, vacated, or pardoned criminal convictions from blocking a path to citizenship for immigrants. The legislation would also keep these factors from weighing against an immigrant in removal proceedings. Read the announcement
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President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing before speaking at an event to mark National Small Business Week. The president and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden this afternoon will host President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Louise Araneta-Marcos of the Philippines at the White House. During the visit, Biden and Marcos will hold a bilateral meeting. President Biden will also host a reception this evening to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Biden’s week ahead:
Wednesday: The president and Dr. Biden will host a reception and dinner for the Combatant Commanders, the four-star officers who oversee the 11 geographical and functional military commands that carry out broad and continuing missions.
Vice President Harris will also speak at the National Small Business Week event. She and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will attend the Eid-al-Fitr reception as well.
The Senate is in and will vote to confirm Anthony Devos Johnstone to be US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
The House is out.
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