McCarthy is preparing his inaugural debt ceiling bid — and it’s fraught with potential pitfalls

As House Republicans roll out a formal bill in the coming weeks, the party’s list of potential demands — including cuts in discretionary spending and tougher work requirements on programs like food stamps A big flashpoint: They’re proposing to raise the debt ceiling by a year, sparking another battle over the federal purse in the middle of the 2024 presidential election.

A Republican close to the talks, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity, called the leadership’s upcoming proposal “an opening reception” and said there was no specific number of support yet.

Meanwhile, the stakes couldn’t be higher for McCarthy. The California Republican Party must avoid a misstep that weakens its rhetoric — forcing any disgruntled member to call off a vote. Unlike other GOP agenda items that would satisfy the party base despite their slim chance of becoming law, any debt-ceiling moves would draw domestic criticism while exacting economic consequences.

McCarthy is scheduled to deliver a speech to the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, which is expected to focus on the debt ceiling. The flurry of new activity comes as the country will soon run out of borrowing power to pay its bills this summer.

Privately, Democrats close to party leadership said the entire GOP slate was a nonstarter. President Joe Biden’s party continues to insist it will accept nothing short of a clean debt ceiling hike.

In addition, McCarthy has to contend with several chefs in his own financial kitchen. No fewer than four factions within McCarthy’s caucus are already floating their own ideas in an attempt to shape McCarthy’s initial effort.

The most central main street is Caucus, In a letter to McCarthy on Thursday, reiterated its support for the California Republican Party while outlining its own debt priorities. Those include returning unspent coronavirus relief money, reversing Biden’s student loan relief moves and creating a commission to propose ways to improve Medicare and Social Security without cutting benefits.

“This letter outlines the proposals that have received the most support from our caucus, and we are confident they can secure 218 votes in the U.S. House of Representatives,” added Main Street Chair. Dusty Johnson (RS.D.) and Vice-President Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) wrote. Some of their ideas were included in the GOP leadership’s draft plan.

The bipartisan problem-solving caucus has presented its own ideas to members in Zoom meetings during breaks.

and representative. Kevin Hearn (R-Okla.), chairman of the conservative Republican Caucus, didn’t just release his. Loan “playbook,” but now insists on a specific timeline. Hearn has called for a vote this month, before the House recesses for a week in early May

“The time for debate is over. The time for action is now. …We must work day and night to get it done to show the American people that we can be trusted and to force the Senate and the White House to answer for their dereliction of duty,” Hearn added in a letter this week.

That’s in addition to the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, which drew murmurs from across the convention when it publicly outlined its thinking on the debt ceiling — though its chairman, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), insisted the group was not. Not making “requests”.

Republicans involved in the talks said their members understood the need to unite behind a debt measure. Their goal: convince Democrats they’re serious about cutting spending.

According to a half-dozen people close to Republican leadership, the GOP’s list, which is widely circulated on K Street, does not include everything that goes into the debt ceiling bill. Instead, it’s a collection of the most popular ideas that emerged through two months of rank-and-file “listening sessions” by the House Majority Whip. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) — six to 10 members at a time — and broader talks led by Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.).

While the party hasn’t formally decided how much spending cuts to support across the board, it’s clear that Republicans plan to scale back large chunks of discretionary spending for the 2022 fiscal year. While some Republicans have called for even more drastic spending cuts, the GOP’s proposal includes a 1 percent increase each year.

Others in the GOP conference are agitating for cuts to defense spending, creating another conflict with colleagues who don’t want to streamline the Pentagon.

What’s not included in the emerging GOP plan: A conservative push to roll back $80 billion for tax enforcement that was included in last year’s Democrats’ tax, climate and health care bill. The border policies put forward by the delegates also did not go away. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and others on the right.

Caitlin Emma, ​​Meredith Lee Hill and Olivia Beavers contributed.

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