Speed Reads

'dead on arrival'

House Republicans narrowly pass debt ceiling bill

House Republicans passed a debt ceiling bill on Wednesday that cuts federal spending and rolls back major parts of President Biden's domestic agenda.

The debt ceiling is the amount of money the government is authorized to borrow to pay its bills, and if action isn't taken soon, the U.S. Treasury could default on its bills. The legislation, which narrowly passed with a 217-215 vote, raises the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or through the end of March 2024, whichever comes first. It also caps federal spending, focusing its cuts on health care, education, science, and labor programs; repeals tax credits for clean technologies and electric vehicles; and ends Biden's plan to offer student loan relief for millions of borrowers.

"We've done our job," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said after the vote, adding that Biden can "no longer ignore" negotiations with House Republicans. In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reacted to the legislation, saying, "President Biden will never force middle class and working families to bear the burden of tax cuts for the wealthiest, as this bill does. The president has made clear this bill has no chance of becoming law."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed, calling the bill "dead on arrival," and accused House Republicans of "hostage taking" and bringing the U.S. "dangerously closer to defaulting." Now is the time for Biden and McCarthy to come together and reach an agreement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, or "we'll be at a standoff. And we shouldn't do that to the country."