Kevin McCarthy’s Debt Ceiling Cuts Could Hit California Preschool and Social Security: White House

  • House Republicans want to enact sweeping cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
  • The White House finds those cuts could hit thousands in Kevin McCarthy’s home state of California.
  • Currently, the US is hurtling towards a potential default as soon as June 1, as both sides negotiate a deal.

The White House is taking a closer look at what the GOP’s sweeping cuts could mean for Americans in every state — and for residents of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s home state of California, Republicans’ plan could mean less access to preschool, affordable housing, and Social Security assistance.

According to a new White House fact sheet, the bills House Republicans have put forward to reign in spending as part of a debt ceiling increase could have “devastating impacts” for Californians. California would see a $9 billion drop in federal grant dollars, per the analysis from the Office of Management and Budget, leading to cuts in childcare and making housing and college more expensive.

If the cuts were to go through, that would mean 68,500 fewer preschool and childcare slots, and 107,000 Californians losing help with rent, according to the White House. It would also mean that 6.9 million senior citizens and people with disabilities would contend with longer wait times when calling for Social Security and Medicare help.

That fact sheet comes after the Bipartisan Policy Center finds that Social Security and Medicare payments, alongside veterans benefits and SNAP, could be the first on the chopping block should the country default on its debts.

The US could be as soon as nine days away from a default, and there’s never been more urgency for Congress to come to an agreement on a way to raise the debt ceiling and avoid the catastrophic outcomes in McCarthy’s home state, and nationally. On Monday evening, Biden and McCarthy met to once again try to find common ground on a debt ceiling solution, and while both parties emerged from the meeting saying it was “productive,” they still couldn’t make a deal.

“I think we both agree that we want to be able to come to an agreement,” McCarthy told reporters following the meeting. “We both agree on the areas that we know there’s disagreement on, but I think it was productive and the professionalism, the honesty with one another, and the desire to fight try to find common ground.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, however, suggested after the meeting that his party might be open to discussing “freezing spending at current levels. That’s an inherently reasonable position many in our party might even be uncomfortable with, but President Biden recognizes we’re in a divided government situation.”

McCarthy said that discussions with Biden will continue throughout the week in the hopes of reaching a deal that can be turned into legislation and brought to the House floor as soon as possible. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated to McCarthy in a Monday letter that it is “highly likely that Treasury will no longer be able to satisfy all of the government’s obligations if Congress has not acted to raise or suspend the debt limit by early June, and potentially as early as June 1.”

It’s unclear if McCarthy or Biden will make any compromises over the next few days to stave off a default, and while Biden and Democrats are continuing to hold the line on raising the limit without spending cuts, McCarthy has remained adamant that programs need to be cut in exchange for a debt ceiling deal.

“The president has to get serious. It’s 10 days out from him defaulting on the debt,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I have been clear from the very beginning: Democrats’ addiction to spending led to skyrocketing inflation, dependence on China, and record debt. Now, Washington must spend less.”

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