US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, speaks to members of the media at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Monday, May 22, 2023.
Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling that House Republicans released on Sunday faces its first major test on Tuesday in the House Rules Committee, where two of the panel’s nine Republicans have already signaled they will oppose bringing it to the House floor for a vote.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act is the product of a deal hammered out by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden to cap federal baseline spending for two years in exchange for Republican votes to raise the debt ceiling beyond next year’s elections and into 2025.
The bill needs to pass the GOP majority House and the Democratic controlled Senate before June 5, when the Treasury Department projects the United States would be unlikely to have enough money to meet its debt obligations.
A bloc of conservative Republicans have publicly attacked the compromise bill, accusing McCarthy of caving in to the White House. Several Democrats, too, have panned the deal, which includes new work requirements for food stamps that many progressives said was a red line.
McCarthy wants to hold a vote on the bill Wednesday.
But before a bill can receive a vote in the full House, it must be approved by a majority of the 13-member House Rules Committee, which sets the rules of debate on the bill.
The committee is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday to hash out the rules of the debt ceiling vote.
The panel’s makeup is heavily skewed towards the party in the majority, 9-4, a set up meant to ensure that legislation did not get held up by a few dissenters siding with the minority.
But it only takes three Republicans to side with the four Democrats in order to hold up the bill.
And as of Tuesday morning, two Republican members of the Rules Committee, Reps. Chip Roy of Texas and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, had already said they planned to do just that.
“Workarounds, fuzzy math, and no real cuts… this #DebtCeiling deal is weak everywhere it needed to be strong,” Norman tweeted on Tuesday morning.
A third member of the panel, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, had yet to say Tuesday morning whether he would support the bill.
If the Fiscal Responsibility Act were to stall in the Rules Committee, it would resurrect the imminent threat of a debt default, with less than a week before the deadline.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.