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Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are urging Speaker Kevin McCarthy not to compromise with President Joe Biden on negotiations over raising the nation’s debt limit.
The Caucus published a letter sent to McCarthy on Thursday, demanding that he compel Biden and the Democratic-led Senate to approve the Limit, Save, Grow (LSG) Act – legislation to raise the debt limit passed by the House in April – to avert a debt default, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said could come as early as June 1. Additionally, the caucus said that McCarthy should include the “Secure the Border Act,” a border security bill passed by House Republicans in a final deal.
“Press reports indicate [Biden] is pushing to water down provisions of the LSG Act while simultaneously demanding a debt ceiling increase of $4 trillion or more. This is outrageous,” wrote the caucus in a letter, which was signed by 35 House Republicans. They demanded that McCarthy not deviate from the LSG Act in his negotiating position.
Democrats have been united in their opposition to the LSG Act, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer terming it “DOA” in the Senate. Democrats have also balked at including discrete provisions of the act, such as new work requirements for welfare programs, in a deal.
Yellen has frequently warned McCarthy that the U.S. may default on its debt as early as June 1, claiming that it would lead to catastrophic effects for the global economy. However, in their letter, the caucus suggested that Yellen was being disingenuous about the date in order to compel Republicans into a premature deal well before a default would actually occur.
“We urge you to lead Republicans in deflating the manufactured crisis of the June 1, 2023 “X-date”,” wrote the caucus. They demanded that the Treasury “immediately furnish a complete justification of the June 1 projection.”
The strongly worded letter comes as both the House and Senate have departed Washington, D.C. for the Memorial Day weekend, and plan to return only shortly before June 1. Democrats and Republicans still remain far apart on a deal, with the GOP demanding policy concessions and spending cuts that Democrats have resisted.
Amid this impasse, Biden has publicly mulled invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to unilaterally pay U.S. debts without congressional authorization — a proposal that has been criticized by some who claim it could lead to a “constitutional crisis” and could be “impeachable.” Other reports indicate that McCarthy might be considering a bipartisan deal with House Democrats without Freedom Caucus votes.
The caucus, however, remains insistent it should be part of any deal that McCarthy strikes. “The only hope for transformative change in Washington comes from a Unified House Republican Conference. You have that,” they said. “We are behind you. Use our unity to make history.”
Biden, McCarthy, Schumer, and Republican Reps. Garret Graves and Patrick McHenry did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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