After weeks of negotiations, the Biden administration and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seem to have reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a catastrophic default.
Hardline conservative Republicans in Washington vowed Tuesday to do everything possible to sink the bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling.
They failed to block the deal’s passage in the House, but Austin Rep. Chip Roy promised a “reckoning” for McCarthy.
Some progressive lawmakers in our nation’s capital are also underwhelmed by the deal — including some from the Texas delegation.
Joseph Morton, the Washington correspondent for the Dallas Morning News, said the next step for the bill raising the debt ceiling is a vote in the Senate.
“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had more recently pushed (the June 1 deadline) back to Monday. And there’s always a little bit of a softness to that deadline. It’s been compared to stoppage time in soccer. And the treasury secretary has the watch and tells everybody when it’s over,” he said. “It appears at this point that the Senate is going to pass it. There’s always ways for any single senator to delay things, but they can’t completely stop it… They can’t make any changes or it would have to go back to the House and we might actually risk default.”
Morton said the most likely scenario is the Senate passes the bill and sends it to President Biden for a signature.
Morton said that Roy and other hardliner’s failure to block the bill calls into question their influence in the Republican caucus.
“This group of hardline conservatives were the ones who held out at the beginning of this session and made McCarthy sit through 15 rounds of voting, and a week of voting, before he got the gavel,” he said. “It appeared coming out of that that they had a lot of power and influence over this caucus. They’re looking much weaker this week after vowing to take this deal down and then being pretty much overridden by the rest of the House.”
Morton said one member of the group talked about ousting McCarthy — and Roy spoke about the need to revisit the leadership structure.
“I wouldn’t feel all that confident if I were them in their power based on the vote last night,” Morton said. “They were trying to make sure that as few Republicans voted for this as possible and McCarthy got two thirds of his conference behind it. I mean, it was a very overwhelming bipartisan majority vote last night. So if I’m McCarthy, I feel pretty strong today.”
Morton said several progressive members of the Texas caucus voted against the bill, including Austin Rep. Greg Casar and Dallas area Rep. Jasmine Crockett.
“Greg Casar definitely described this as somewhat of a protest vote of the entire process. They felt like the Republicans were taking the country hostage by using the debt ceiling as this leverage point, and they wanted to register their disapproval of that,” Morton said. “They also objected to some of the specifics in the deal, the spending restraints and some of the expanded work requirements on social programs like food stamps. But they made clear they were not going to let a default happen. And they said they knew it was going to pass anyway. So that was something of a symbolic protest vote, just to say they sort of objected to the way it all went down.”
While anything can happen during the legislative process, Morton said this bill appears to be on its way to success.
“I don’t want to jinx this, but it certainly appears at the moment as if the Senate’s going to put this through in the next few days. President Biden will sign it,” he said. “You can rest easy about your 401k portfolio for now.”