After weeks of politicians on both sides whipping the media into a frenzy about a debt crisis, the predictable outcome has finally arrived: A deal has been reached, and it undoubtedly reflects House Speaker Kevin McCarthy having bested President Biden.
After all, President Biden said numerous times that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre parroted those remarks as did many others in the Democratic Party. Yet here we are with the debt ceiling about to be raised and cuts in spending about to be made after the bill cleared a key procedural vote Wednesday afternoon in the Republican controlled House.
McCarthy beat Joe Biden. The president pledged not to negotiate and caved to his opposition.
You might point to the 29 Republicans voting against the bill who claim the deal isn’t delivering enough spending cuts. They are right—indeed, even McCarthy agrees. “Maybe it doesn’t do everything for everyone, but this is a step in the right direction,” McCarthy said in an interview with Shannon Bream on Fox News this Sunday. “I’ll debate this bill with anybody. Is it everything I wanted? No, because we don’t control all of it. But it is the biggest rescission in history. It is the biggest cut Congress has ever voted for in that process.”
He’s right. The deal expands work requirements for food stamps, raising the age for the existing work requirements from 49 to 54. Additionally, The Biden administration has committed to reduce the number of homeless people of all ages who are subject to the requirements.
Far Left progressives have strongly opposed these measures, which conservatives have long advocated for. The deal Biden negotiated has enraged the Progressive Caucus, causing the President to have a serious issue with the Left flank of his party, one that is constantly attempting to seize the reigns of powers.
The deal will also rescind approximately $30 billion in unspent coronavirus relief money that Congress previously approved in other legislation. Republicans have long sought to end the out-of-control spending in response to the COVID pandemic and McCarthy was able to negotiate it.
He was also able to negotiate a roll back of the White House’s efforts to forgive student loan debt, after Biden agreed to end the pause on student loan repayments that was instituted in the wake of the pandemic. The GOP has opposed Democrat’s efforts to forgive student loans, and this gives Republicans another win with their base while kneecapping a major progressive victory.
McCarthy even managed to avoid cuts to defense and keep non-defense spending relatively flat in fiscal year 2024. And the deal fully funds medical care for veterans at the levels included in Biden’s proposed 2024 budget blueprint, something that both parties claim to agree on.
The deal also green-lit the billion-dollar Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is almost complete but has been bogged down in permitting hell for years—another huge concession from a president who nixed the Keystone XL Pipeline via executive order his first day in office and pledged to end drilling.
As a bonus, the deal even took a potshot at the EPA, putting in place changes to the National Environmental Policy Act for the first time in 40 years and designating “a single lead agency” to develop environmental reviews.
Does the deal reel in the government’s out of control spending that got us into this mess? No, but it would be hypocritical of Republicans to claim that only Democrats caused this crisis.
Republicans have historically only cut spending when there is divided control of government. Under President Donald Trump, Republicans blew out spending on their own priorities and in response to COVID. Of course, Biden and the Democrats said, “Hold my Bud Light,” and proceeded to make GOP spending look like a drop in the bucket.
Biden and the Democrats will not become fiscal conservatives. To pretend otherwise is not factually honest, nor is it realistic. The only way to avoid raising the debt ceiling again in the future is for Republicans to find a message that resonates with the American people and win big in 2024, then promptly avoid falling into the same pattern of failing to make cuts and instead spend on their own priorities after pledging during the campaign to be the fiscally responsible party that is going to cut the pork in the federal budget.
McCarthy was dealt a bad hand, partially of his own making. But getting Democrats to negotiate the debt ceiling after months of them pledging never to do so is a win—a big one.
Ari Hoffman is the host of The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI and the West Coast Editor of The Post Millennial. Originally from New York, he now lives with his family in Seattle, WA.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.