House conservatives issue new list of demands that could upend debt ceiling talks

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  • A powerful bloc of House conservatives released a list of demands in exchange for a vote to raise the debt ceiling.
  • The House Freedom Caucus sought drastic federal budget cuts, work requirements for Medicaid, and the elimination of “federal regulations” on home energy generation.
  • The list goes well beyond what other House Republicans have said, and threatens to end talks over a vote to raise the debt ceiling later this year.

WASHINGTON – A powerful bloc of US House conservatives issued new demands on Friday that they said must be met before voting to raise the debt ceiling.

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The House Freedom Caucus list includes drastic cuts in federal spending, a return to Clinton-era work requirements for public assistance, and an end to “federal regulations and subsidies” on domestic energy generation. one page summary Posted by group.

The demands go well beyond what other House Republicans have said, and threaten to derail talks later this year over a vote to raise the debt ceiling, currently set at $31.4 trillion. Is. Unveiled at a press conference on Capitol Hill, the list suggests the HFCs may seek to act as a separate faction independent of the Republican leadership in the upcoming talks on the debt ceiling.

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With 222 Republicans and 218 votes needed to pass the legislation in the House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s path forward is complicated because he cannot afford to lose more than four members of his caucus on any vote without Democratic support. Are. The House Freedom Caucus, with about 45 members, represents more than enough votes to sink practically any piece of legislation unless McCarthy strikes a deal with the Democrats.

The US reached the current debt limit in January of this year, at which point Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen initiated a series of established steps, known as “extraordinary measures”. The moves allowed the government to continue borrowing money to meet its obligations.

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The Congressional Budget Office estimates the measures will expire this summer, after which the United States could default on its debt, unlike anything in the country’s history. Yellen has warned that a default would cause widespread economic damage.

“Since 1789, the United States has always paid its bills on time. It must continue to do so,” Yellen told the House Ways and Means Committee at a hearing Friday morning.

Yellen told the tax-writing panel, “Default on our debt would trigger an economic and financial disaster.” “I urge all members of Congress to come together to address the debt ceiling – without preemption and without waiting until the last minute.”

President Joe Biden has so far ruled out negotiating with Republicans on the debt ceiling. But he has left open the possibility of securing support in the House for an increase in the debt ceiling through negotiations on next year’s federal budget.

Biden released his 2024 federal budget on Thursday. The 182-page document is widely seen as the White House’s opening salvo in debates with House Republicans.

The Biden budget would fund federal programs and reduce the federal deficit by imposing significant new taxes on the wealthy, including a 25% minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans. It would also raise taxes on oil and gas companies, raise the corporate tax rate to 28% and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Republican lawmakers immediately put a hold on the budget. In a statement, McCarthy called it “completely unintentional”.

But Republicans’ unanimous opposition to Biden’s budget is a far cry from their unanimity on their own budget.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Jody Arrington, R-Texas, said at Friday’s Ways and Means hearing that her committee’s budget process has been delayed by the administration’s schedule.

But he pledged that the committee would craft a Republican budget plan that reflected the “vision” of the party.

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