Washington — The House has passed legislation to and limit spending, as time runs short to avoid a catastrophic default. The bill will still need to pass the Senate.
In a press conference after the vote, McCarthy thanked Republican negotiators and the Republican conference for reaching this moment.
“I’ve been thinking about this day before my vote for speaker because I knew the debt ceiling was coming,” McCarthy told reporters. “I wanted to make history. I wanted to do something no other Congress has done, that we would literally turn the ship and for the first time in quite some time, we’d spend less than we spent the year before. Tonight, we all made history.”
Earlier Wednesday, a rule to move the bill forward briefly appeared in danger of failing, with nearly 30 Republicans voting against it. More than 50 Democrats ended up supporting the rule, clearing the way for a vote on final passage later in the evening. Ahead of the final vote, Republican and Democratic members urged the bill’s passage, while recognizing they didn’t get everything they wanted.
“Mr. Speaker, the Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want, you get what you need. And we need to avert a default that would stop checks to seniors, benefits for our veterans, hurt the U.S. dollar and Americans’ retirement savings,” Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York summarized on the House floor ahead of the vote.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that while she finds the legislation “objectionable,” it would avert a catastrophic default.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Democrats will “continue to do what is necessary” to “build an economy that works for everyday Americans,” but blasted Republican leadership for not being able to keep their party in lock step.
“The question that remains right now is what will the House Republican majority do? It appears that you may have lost control of the floor of the House of Representatives,” Jeffries said ahead of the vote.
Republican Rep. Garret Graves, one of the Republicans who negotiated the deal with the White House, expressed frustration that the nation has accumulated so much debt, but touted the bill’s “historic” savings and urged his colleagues to pass the legislation.
“It is absolutely historic,” Graves said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “For the first time ever, as a result of the strategic nature of this speaker, we’re in a situation where we have legislation before us that will result in the greatest savings in American history.”
Conservative House Republicans have objected to the deal brokered by McCarthy and Mr. Biden. Some members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus haveto call a vote to oust McCarthy from the speakership over the deal.
The majority of the left wing of the Democratic Party was expected to vote against final passage, as Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal and Whip Greg Casar told reporters Wednesday, although they added that the majority of the 100 members of the caucus do not want the nation to default.
would suspend the debt limit until the first quarter of 2025, after the 2024 elections. Under the agreement, domestic, non-defense spending would be kept roughly flat for 2024, and in 2025, the bill allows a limited increase of 1%.
The measure also overhauls the nation’s permitting laws and specifically approves the remaining permits on achampioned by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The bill rescinds unspent COVID-19 funds and adds work requirements for people on food assistance until their early 50s, while eliminating work requirements for veterans and young adults leaving the foster care system.
Some conservative Republicans vowed to vote against the legislation, accusing McCarthy of caving to Democratic demands. The bipartisan agreement cleared theTuesday night, over the opposition of some conservatives.
“Once you dissect the bill, this bill is un-American,” GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina told reporters Tuesday. “It defies conservatism. No Republican in good conscience should support this.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Tuesday said his team was having conversations with Republican members and answering their questions as they read through the bill.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen estimates the U.S. will run out of fundswithout action on the debt limit.
White House officials and House Republican negotiatorsat the Capitol and White House in a series of lengthy sessions to hammer out the details of a deal since Mr. Biden reengaged on the issue, after insisting for months that he would not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor that senators should be prepared to move on this bill quickly once it is the Senate’s turn to act.
“I cannot stress enough that we have no margin — no margin — for error,” he said. “Either we proceed quickly and send this bipartisan agreement to the president’s desk or the federal government will default for the first time ever.” He instructed them in a letter earlier this week to “prepare for potential Friday and weekend votes.”
— Caitlin Yilek, Zachary Hudak and Jack Turman contributed to this report.