Sunday, 28 May 2023

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Debt ceiling news: Demands Republicans are making

Debt ceiling news: Demands Republicans are making

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks with reporters about the debt ceiling negotiations in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Debt ceiling negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans took on a new, harder tone this week after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy signaled that he was not willing to compromise with Democrats over a list of GOP demands.

Instead, McCarthy’s deputies say they view a vote to raise the debt ceiling — and to avoid a potentially catastrophic U.S. debt default — as a concession to Democrats, and potentially the only one they plan to make. Given the havoc a default could wreak on the global economy, increasing the borrowing limit is typically a formality, often structured as a companion bill that gets tacked on to unrelated legislation.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, of North Carolina, a chief GOP negotiator, was asked Tuesday night what concessions Democrats were getting as part of a potential compromise with the White House to win both Republican and Democratic votes.

“The debt ceiling,” he replied.

“That’s what they’re getting,” added Rep. Garret Graves, of Louisiana, another GOP negotiator.

Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House, while Democrats have a one-seat edge in the Senate. So negotiators need to craft a bill that can pass in both chambers. Republican demands for policy changes that many Democrats would never vote for will complicate any eventual deal’s path through Congress.

A Democratic official said Republicans have already rejected at least two compromise offers from the White House. The first proposed a government spending freeze next year at its current level, and another offer would put in place a two-year cap on spending.

While their demands could change, below are the key concessions Republicans want from Democrats, in exchange for their vote to raise the debt ceiling. Some are relatively easy, while others are proving intractable.

  • Energy and mining permitting reform: The proposal is arguably the easiest issue for negotiators to reach consensus on, given that both the White House and House Republicans support the broader goal of making it easier to launch new energy projects such as wind farms and gas pipelines in the United States. The talks could get dicey over the question of what kinds of permits to prioritize: Republicans want fossil fuels, while many Democrats believe renewable energy should top the…

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