President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated legislation to raise the $31.4 trillion US debt ceiling and achieve new federal spending cuts, which advanced to the full House of Representatives for debate and a vote on passage on Wednesday.
The House Rules Committee voted 7-6 to adopt the rules permitting full chamber discussion. Representatives Chip Roy and Ralph Norman, both Republicans on the committee, defied their leadership by voting against the measure.
That vote underscored the need for Democrats to help pass the measure in the House, which is controlled by Republicans with a narrow 222-213 majority.
House passage would send the bill to the Senate. The measure needs congressional approval before June 5, when the Treasury Department could run out of funds to pay its debts for the first time in U.S. history.
If the Treasury Department cannot cover make all its payments, or if it was forced to prioritize payments, that could trigger economic chaos in the U.S. and global economies.
Biden and McCarthy have predicted they will get enough votes to pass the 99-page bill into law before the June 5 deadline.
The non-partisan budget scorekeeper for Congress on Tuesday said the legislation would reduce spending from its current projections by $1.5 trillion over 10 years beginning in 2024.
The Congressional Budget Office also said the measure, if enacted into law, would reduce interest on the public debt by $188 billion.
McCarthy called the bill the “most conservative deal we’ve ever had.”
Nevertheless, some of the House’s most conservative Republicans who sought far deeper spending reductions were not persuaded and it was unclear how many Democrats McCarthy will need to win Wednesday’s anticipated vote on passage.
All four Democrats on the Rules Committee voted against the bill, as they typically do on Republican-backed legislation. It was unclear whether that might influence other Democrats to do the same on Wednesday, even as Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said his party would provide the support McCarthy needs.
Many Democrats in Congress did not want Biden to engage in budget-cutting negotiations with Republicans until they lifted their hold on enacting a debt limit bill.