The House Freedom Caucus has said that it will not entertain further discussion on the nation’s debt ceiling, indicating it will not vote for a compromise bill between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, who is under pressure from more Democrats to invoke the 14th Amendment to avoid a default.
“The Freedom Caucus calls on Speaker McCarthy and Senate Republicans to use every leverage and tool to ensure the Limit, Save, Grow Act is signed into law. There should be no further discussion until the Senate passes the legislation,” the caucus wrote in a statement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Act was passed by the House in April after negotiations with the Freedom Caucus.
The statement did not say whether the caucus would whip votes against any compromise bill that may be introduced after negotiations between Biden and McCarthy, whose staffs are currently negotiating a deal to raise the debt limit. The caucus has argued that the Limit, Save, Grow Act – which, among other things, would repeal Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, student debt cancellation and add work requirements to welfare programs – is necessary to reduce the budget deficit and debt.
House Republicans did our job on debt ceiling.
It’s time for President Biden and Senate Democrats to do theirs and pass the Limit, Save, Grow Act.
No more discussion on watering it down. Period. pic.twitter.com/pphcbdKy0k
— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) May 18, 2023
Democrats have largely rejected the Limit, Save, Grow Act, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling it “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
Eleven Senate Democrats have also demanded that Biden be prepared to invoke the 14th Amendment to the Constitution if no compromise is reached with McCarthy. They refer to Section 4 of the amendment, which specifies that “The validity of public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.”
“Republicans’ unwillingness to consider one penny in new revenue from the wealthy and large corporations…have made it seemingly impossible to enact a bipartisan budget deal at this time,” wrote the senators in a letter to Biden, adding that using 14th Amendment authority would “prevent a global economic catastrophe.”
The senators’ call comes even as experts have warned against the idea. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that it would precipitate a constitutional crisis, while legal experts speaking with the DCNF have said that Biden’s invocation of the act could be an “impeachable” offense.
The divergent releases from both Freedom Caucus and Democratic senators suggest that the positions of lawmakers are growing further apart on the issue, despite McCarthy and Biden suggesting that both sides had narrowed down the themes for a potential deal — including a 1% cap on discretionary spending and an openness to work requirements in welfare, despite the opposition of left-wing House Democrats. Yellen has warned that the U.S. could default on its debt as early as June 1.
The White House, McCarthy and the Freedom Caucus did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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