loudspeaker Kevin McCarthy made a plea to House Republicans during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning to support debt ceiling plantelling them that while it doesn’t have to include everything they want, it will help bring it to the negotiating table with President Joe Biden.
McCarthy also told members that once he’s at the table, he may push for other policy provisions down the road, according to multiple sources in the room, underscoring the idea that leadership sees the GOP-only plan as purely a way to and strengthen the hand. at the negotiation table.
Top House Republicans are projecting confidence that they can unite the conference behind a plan and move quickly to pass it. But this is far from certain. Key details of the plan have yet to be finalized, and some members are expressing frustration with the proposal as it stands — and elements that have not been included.
House Rules Chairman Tom Cole told CNN the GOP debt limit bill will be on the House floor next week, but other House Republicans expressed skepticism that the details of the proposal can be worked out at time for a vote to take place soon and the time frame. it can slide.
House Republicans insist that any increase in the debt limit must be paired with spending cuts, while the White House says the limit should be raised unconditionally. McCarthy wants to push a debt limit bill through the House as a way to pressure the White House to come to the negotiating table, even if the bill fails the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The closed-door meeting kicks off a difficult effort by GOP leaders to wrangle 218 votes for a proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut federal spending. McCarthy presented members with his proposal, which includes recovering unspent Covid-19 funds, 10-year caps on spending, banning Biden from student loan forgiveness and passing a GOP energy bill.
Conservatives are pushing for more to be included, while some have said they will not support a debt ceiling increase under any circumstances, illustrating how difficult it will be for GOP leaders to unite the conference behind a proposal.
Rep. GOP Scott Perry, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, expressed frustration with the lack of specificity from House GOP leaders on the debt ceiling and spending reduction plan.
“I don’t fully know what’s in the package, that’s the problem,” Perry told reporters. “I know what was on the screen, but I don’t think that’s the whole package.”
Perry also said he disagreed with the GOP leadership’s approach of trying to pass something now to get to the negotiating table with Democrats and then ask for more later. Perry was one of several members who stood up during the closed-door conference meeting and pleaded for additional cuts.
Rep. Kevin Hern, the leader of the Republican Study Committee, told CNN that Republicans must come together on a single debt ceiling plan or face a much weaker hand in any future negotiations with the White House.
“It’s about leadership. If we can’t drive then we have a problem,” Hern said.
Hern said he has no problem with next week’s vote, arguing it’s time for Republicans to come together.
Rep. GOP Don Bacon said one of the things they’re still debating is how — and how long — to raise the debt ceiling and whether it should be raised by a dollar amount or by a date. Some members are pushing for a shorter increase, but Bacon said it will likely be in place next year.
He also confirmed that some members are still pushing to include more spending cuts and repeals, and some lawmakers supported that during the meeting, but Bacon predicted that the 18 Republicans in Biden’s districts, like himself , they will be for it.
Florida Representative Matt Gaetz said conference discussions on the debt ceiling are “coming closer” but there are still details that need to be addressed. He said he was not sure a vote on the budget deal could take place as early as next week.
“I think a lot of it depends on how these talks play out today, tomorrow, the day after,” he said. “I think there are a number of really critical details that we need to work out before we make a final decision on a vote, but it was a very productive discussion, a lot of good ideas,” although he said he would “very surprised” if the text of the bill was released today.
A source on the floor told CNN that at the House GOP conference, members of the House Freedom Caucus, including Reps. Perry, Chip Roy and Andrew Clyde, called for more cuts to be included and argued with leadership why some provisions did not were included.
It shows how difficult this will be for leaders, even as the leadership has presented it as an opportunity to consolidate influence with the White House.
One of the topics discussed at the GOP conference meeting was why several items were not included in the debt ceiling.
For example, conservatives were frustrated that a measure that would recover IRS enforcement funds was not included. But a source in the room tells CNN the reason it’s not included is because it would be rated expensive by the Congressional Budget Office, and without enforcement money, CBO would argue less tax revenue would be collected.
Republicans are trying to raise as much revenue and cut spending in this bill.