The elected representatives of the House of Representatives adopted on Wednesday by a very large majority the text aimed at raising the debt ceiling, thus further distancing the specter of a default by the United States on its debt, which would have had consequences catastrophic effects on the American and global economy.
It must now be adopted by the Senate, which should decide quickly, the leader of the Democratic majority, Chuck Schumer assuring a little earlier in the day that he would submit it "as quickly as possible" so that "we avoid the default of payment".
In a statement, Joe Biden called the vote "an essential step forward in preventing a default for the first time ever." According to the Democratic president, this result was obtained thanks to a "compromise of the two parties".
For his part, the Republican leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy, for his part estimated, during a press conference, that this vote "placed the American citizen as a priority" by realizing what "no previous mandate has had succeeded so far: cut federal spending.
"Tonight's vote passed the largest budget cuts in American history," he insisted.
The result of marathon negotiations and ripped off with forceps during the extended Memorial Day weekend, the text must above all make it possible to avoid the worst: that the coffers of the country find themselves dry next Monday, then risking bringing the States United in default of payment.
It was to avoid this scenario with potentially catastrophic repercussions for the economy that MM Biden and McCarthy concluded an agreement, which, like any compromise, did not fully satisfy anyone.
“No camp got everything it wanted,” summed up Joe Biden after the adoption of the text.
Kevin McCarthy had recognized him before the vote that he would not be full of votes in his camp, while displaying his optimism.
And for good reason, the Democratic leaders, although they were forced to alter the federal budget, had undertaken to bring the votes that would be missing from this text.
"House Democrats will make sure the country doesn't default. Full stop," said leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Promise kept since the bill received 314 votes in favor, 165 Democrats and 149 Republicans, while 117 elected officials opposed it, 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats.
In both camps, however, many voices had made it known that they would not vote for the text.
Among the Republicans, the main criticisms come from the Trumpist wing which demanded more spending cuts. The elected representative of Texas Chip Roy thus castigated a “bad agreement”, for which “no Republican should vote”.
Some members of their group are even considering a motion of no confidence to force Kevin McCarthy off the roost. The proposal can be tabled by a single elected representative.
More moderate voices, such as that of South Carolina elected official Nancy Mace, were also missing. “This agreement formalizes the record level reached by federal spending during the pandemic and makes it the baseline for future spending,” she criticized before the vote.
On the Democratic side, left-wing elected officials like Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to support a text "imposed" according to them by the Republicans.
The bill suspends the debt ceiling until 2025, i.e. after the presidential elections, at the end of 2024.
In exchange, certain expenditures will be limited in order to keep them stable, excluding military expenditures, in 2024 and increasing by 1%, excluding inflation, in 2025.
It also provides for a $10 billion cut in funds allocated to tax services to modernize and strengthen controls.
McCarthy's office also said the deal provides for the recovery of "billions of dollars in unspent Covid funds" during the pandemic, without further details.
A major point of contention, the compromise includes changes to the conditions imposed to benefit from certain social aid: it increases from 49 to 54 the age until which adults without children must work to receive food assistance, but it eliminates this obligation to work for veterans and the homeless.
01/06/2023 04:17:08 - Washington (AFP) - © 2023 AFP