McCarthy May Need Democrat Support to Pass Debt Ceiling Deal: Report

  • President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy reached a debt ceiling agreement yesterday.
  • The proposal must pass in the House, where some GOP members have said they won’t support it.
  • A group of Democrats has formed to help carry the bill if GOP members revolt, Politico reported.

Kevin McCarthy, the GOP Speaker of the House whose election was challenged by members of his own party, may have to square off with his fellow Republicans again to pass the debt ceiling deal.

Negotiators for McCarthy and President Joe Biden reached an agreement in principle yesterday after weeks of contentious partisan negotiations. The proposal will be voted on Wednesday and requires a simple majority — 218 votes if all members are present — to pass.

The GOP holds a majority in the House with 222 members compared to Democrats’ 213 seats.

As part of the deal, Reuters reported, non-defense discretionary spending will be capped at 2023 levels for two years in exchange for a similar period of debt ceiling increases. 

But several GOP House members, some of whom refused to support McCarthy over 15 rounds of voting for the House Speakership, have indicated they would not pass any bill including a debt ceiling increase. 

“We’re in a situation already where you have some members on the GOP side that have come out and said, no matter what, I’m not voting to raise a debt limit,” Fox News correspondent Chad Pergram reported Florida Rep. Brian Mast said of the debt ceiling vote. “At least one or two came out and said, no matter what, they’re not voting to raise the debt limit. That brings the number in the majority down to two that you can lose.”

Representatives for the White House and the office of Rep. McCarthy did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

“The Speaker’s own members don’t trust him. Many openly exploit him,” Senator Adam Schiff said in a recent statement condemning McCarthy’s leadership. “McCarthy doesn’t care as long as he gets to hold onto that gavel.”

Politico reported an unofficial group of dozens of Democrats has prepared to help float the debt ceiling deal through the House if Republican members choose not to support the deal McCarthy struck with Biden. 

“We’ll protect him if he does the right thing,” Politico reported one of the House Democrats involved in the talks said. 

For McCarthy to take leadership of the House of Representatives, he made concessions to Republican members who held up the vote, changing House rules to allow any member to file a motion for him to vacate his seat with the support of five additional members.

The change forces McCarthy into a balancing act between catering to even the most extreme party members, while trying to govern productively. 

“If he showed some courage to bring something to the floor that would result in a motion to vacate, we would be there to keep him in the seat,” Politico reported a second centrist involved in the internal discussions said. Though the Democrat noted McCarthy being supported on the goodwill of his political rivals would be “a slower suicide.”

“I don’t think McCarthy’s the kind of guy who wants this to be his kind of legacy,” Politico reported the representative said.

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