House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La, said Republicans may put their debt ceiling bill to a vote later on Wednesday. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
April 26 (UPI) -- House Republicans passed a bill to raise the debt limit on Wednesday as Democrats stood unanimously opposed.
The bill to raise the borrowing limit was passed on a 217-215 vote. Republican Reps. Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, and Matt Gaetz joined Democrats in voting against it.
"House Republicans just passed the only bill in Washington that lifts the debt limit, ends wasteful Washington spending, and puts America back on the right economic path," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a press conference. "We're going to save by pulling back this unspent COVID money. We're going to grow this economy by making it energy independent again."
McCarthy said the House is the only body that has "done our job" on the national debt, commenting that the Senate "hasn't done anything." This comes nearly one month after President Joe Biden unveiled his $5.8 trillion budget. Biden has long said raising the debt ceiling is "not negotiable" while pushing back at McCarthy over the prospect of going into national default.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was critical of the bill before and after it was voted on, calling it the "Default on America Act."
"The Republican Default on America Act is DOA in the Senate," Schumer tweeted. "It's a ransom note to the American people to suffer the Republican radical, right-wing agenda or suffer a catastrophic default. Democrats won't allow it."
The proposal, which raises the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion over the next year, comes with several spending cuts, including cuts to renewable energy tax credits, and limits spending growth to 1% each year for the next 10 years," according to Politico.
The House voted 219-210 to approve a rule governing debate on the debt ceiling bill after making several changes to appease Republican holdouts.
"We're working to get this done as soon as possible," said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., according to the Hill. "Our members are very focused on getting this done."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy initially had said that no changes to the legislation would be made, but he ended up acquiescing to appease the holdouts.
The changes to the legislation would rescind a large part of the Inflation Reduction Act, cut back on social safety net programs such as SNAP, and rescind tax credits for renewable energy.
South Carolina Republican Nany Mace, who had been one of the key holdouts, said that she would support the bill.
Democrats have repeatedly pushed for an increase to the debt limit with no strings attached, and they have criticized Republicans for a lack of transparency.
According to Politico, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern accused Republicans of quickly cobbling together a "disgraceful amendment that materialized from your midnight séance."
Congress is expected to have until sometime in the summer to lift the debt ceiling or risk a national default.