House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled Republicans' plan Wednesday to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion and cut government spending before this summer's default deadline. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
April 19 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday unveiled Republicans' plan to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion and cut government spending before the United States defaults on its debt this summer.
The 320-page Limit, Save, Grow Act would increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion through March of 2024. It also would free up $4.5 trillion in savings by reversing discretionary spending for non-defense programs to fiscal year 2022 levels, while limiting programs to 1 percent growth annually.
The plan's spending cuts target a number of the Biden administration's priorities, including the president's student loan forgiveness program. It would rescind funding for the IRS and reclaim unspent COVID-19 funding. It also would enact work requirements for federal aid programs, including Medicaid, but does not include any changes to Social Security and Medicare.
"If Washington wants to spend more, it will have to come together and find savings elsewhere, just like every household in America," McCarthy said.
President Joe Biden, who has asked for a clean debt limit increase without any spending cuts, has refused to negotiate with McCarthy. Biden and McCarthy met in February for what was described as a "straightforward" conversation, but talks later stalled.
"President Biden has a choice. Come to the table and stop playing partisan political games, or cover his ears, refuse to negotiate and risk bumbling his way into the first default in our nation's history," McCarthy said Wednesday.
"They need to sit down, negotiate and address this crisis. Now that we've introduced a clear plan for responsible debt limit increase, they have no more excuse and refuse to negotiate," McCarthy added.
The U.S. Treasury reached its current debt limit of $31.4 trillion in February, before Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen deployed "extraordinary measures" to avoid a default. That is forecast to last into June, when the United States is expected to default on its financial obligations.
While a bipartisan group of centrist House lawmakers released their own plan Wednesday to raise the debt ceiling, McCarthy told reporters he is confident his bill, which is expected to get to a floor vote next week, will pass.
"With the discussions that I've been in, I think that we can get 218," said Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., a member of the House Freedom Caucus who was involved in the plan's discussions.
"I think we're going to come up with something good out of the conference that cuts spending, makes significant reforms and puts us a step closer towards fiscal stability as a country," Good added.
After the bill's release, Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., said the plan would lead to millions being kicked off "their health insurance because Republicans do not believe in our nation's social safety net."
"Republicans are creating a debt crisis to justify these cruel plans," Pallone said. "Let me be clear, this proposal is dead on arrival."