Biden Hails Debt Ceiling Deal, Urges Lawmakers to Pass Agreement

Biden Hails Debt Ceiling Deal, Urges Lawmakers to Pass Agreement – Joe Biden has announced that a bipartisan agreement has been reached to increase the US debt ceiling, which stands at $31.4tn, and to prevent a default. He is urging members of Congress to pass the deal that he negotiated with Kevin McCarthy.

“This is a deal that’s good news for the American people,” the president said at the White House on Sunday night after a call with McCarthy to put the final touches to a tentative deal struck the previous day. 

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“It takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table, protects our hard-earned and historic economic recovery,” he said. Biden expressed a firm recommendation for both chambers to approve the agreement, emphasizing his belief in the House speaker’s genuine negotiations and anticipation of securing the required votes for the passage of the comprehensive 99-page bill. 

People Also Read: Biden and McCarthy Agree to Raise the US Debt Ceiling

The positive news of the agreement led to an increase in Asian shares and US stock futures on Monday, generating optimism in the markets. Lawmakers received the specifics of the agreement by Monday morning, with the intention of introducing a bill for voting as early as Wednesday in the House.

The Senate is expected to follow later in the week or during the upcoming weekend, with the goal of passing the bill before 5 June.  This urgent timeline is crucial to prevent a disastrous and unprecedented default. Monday will witness the presence of Biden, accompanied by the first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the second gentleman Doug Emhoff, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC.

They will participate in ceremonies commemorating Memorial Day, a federal holiday dedicated to honoring and mourning the brave US military personnel who have sacrificed their lives. Following Memorial Day, both the House and Senate are anticipated to resume their sessions on Tuesday.

Once the bill reaches the Senate, where the Democrats hold the majority, the progress of the legislative process will largely hinge on whether any senators attempt to impede the bill’s advancement, possibly through amendment votes. This could potentially result in a delay of a few days in the passage of the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned on Sunday that “due to the time it may take to process the legislation in the Senate without cooperation, senators should prepare for potential Friday and weekend votes.” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell praised the agreement and urged the Senate to promptly pass it without unnecessary delays once it has been approved by the House.

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“Today’s agreement makes urgent progress toward preserving our nation’s full faith and credit and a much-needed step toward getting its financial house in order,” he said. Chip Roy, a prominent member of the Republican hardline Freedom Caucus, took to Twitter to express his intention to impede the passage of the agreement in the House.

However, Kevin McCarthy dismissed the threats of opposition within his own party, stating that the vast majority of House Republicans, “over 95%,” were highly enthusiastic about the deal. “This is a good strong bill that a majority of Republicans will vote for,” the California Republican said.

“You’re going to have Republicans and Democrats be able to move this to the president.” Upon returning to the White House after attending his granddaughter’s high school graduation in Delaware, Biden informed reporters that there were no remaining obstacles between him and McCarthy regarding the agreement. 

When asked if he had confidence that the deal would be voted on in Congress and ultimately reach his desk, he responded affirmatively, saying “yes.” However, late Sunday afternoon, lawmakers from both the House and Senate reportedly engaged in discussions with congressional leaders, expressing their frustrations with the compromise deal.

These discussions marked the beginning of earnest efforts to promote and secure passage of the legislation during the upcoming week. Before the initial announcement of the outline agreement, Biden and McCarthy had a 90-minute phone call on Saturday evening.

People Also Read: United States Denies Plans Of Stalling Payments As Debt Default Looms

During the call, the Democratic president joined from the Camp David retreat, while the Republican speaker participated from the nation’s capital. McCarthy holds a majority of five seats in the Republican-controlled House.

However, it is anticipated that his far-right wing members will resist the proposed spending cuts, considering them insufficient. On the other hand, progressive members may reluctantly accept cuts and restrictions on benefits, despite their strong opposition, in order to ensure the passage of the deal.

According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, if lawmakers fail to act promptly in raising the federal debt ceiling, the United States could potentially default on its debt obligations by 5 June. Such a default would have severe consequences, including significant disruptions in financial markets and pushing the country into a profound recession.

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