House to vote Wednesday on debt ceiling, spending cut bill despite potential GOP holdouts

Senior Republican lawmakers emerged from their closed-door conference meeting Wednesday morning confident that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s bill to increase the federal government’s borrowing limit and cut federal spending will pass the House in a vote later today. McCarthy told reporters he expected the vote to come today but did not say whether he had 218 votes to get it over the line. With his razor-thin majority, McCarthy can afford to lose four GOP votes at most to pass what’s shaping up to be his largest test as Speaker yet. House Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole, R-Okla., told reporters “I do” when asked if he thought there would be a vote on the bill today, after his panel led a six-hour hearing overnight to get the bill ready for the floor. GOP leaders tweaked the bill overnight to assuage concerns from key Republican factions who appeared ready to oppose it on Tuesday. The changes would soften their repeal of biofuel tax credits – a significant concern for midwestern Republicans whose districts rely on ethanol production – and move the legislation’s planned activation of work requirements for federal benefits up from 2025 to 2024. BIDEN THREATENS TO VETO HOUSE GOP PLAN TO ADDRESS DEBT LIMIT Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, among the corn belt Republicans who met with McCarthy yesterday over his concerns with the bill, was a firm “yes” vote as of Wednesday morning, as was Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis. “McCarthy is showing leadership. He listened to the conference,” Van Orden told reporters when exiting Wednesday morning’s meeting. But other defectors, like Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C. and Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., said they were still leaning against the legislation. HOUSE LEADERS ‘CONFIDENT’ DEBT CEILING BILL WILL PASS DESPITE SOME GOP HESITANCE “I’m still leaning no on the bill,” Mace told reporters. “We have an opportunity here to show the nation we can be responsible with spending, and looking at those reforms and the bylaws that leadership support – and I spoke with them this morning and we’ll see where that conversation goes today.” “I said I’m a no to leadership,” said Burchett, who fumed on Tuesday about GOP negotiators skipping out on a planned meeting with him without prior notice. “I’m a no and come see me if they want to talk about it.” He told reporters he would meet with party leaders today but he “just can’t get past $32 trillion in debt.” Asked by Fox News Digital what he’d want to hear from leadership if he’s a hard no, Burchett said, “true debt reduction.” JEAN-PIERRE GETS DEFENSIVE ON BIDEN DEBT CEILING STRATEGY, SHIFTS BLAME TO MCCARTHY Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., would not tell reporters how he plans to vote but complained about the hasty nature of the bill’s changes. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., declared at a press conference after the closed-door meeting, “We’ll be ready to move as early as today… we want to get this done as soon as possible, but more importantly, we want President Biden to finally start getting engaged in this process.” The bill is highly unlikely to pass the Democratically-held Senate, and if it did, the president has already threatened to veto it if it gets to his desk. But Republicans hope the bill stakes out the GOP position for talks with Democrats in the coming weeks.
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