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The Debt ceiling deal was a big WIN for Biden—and a big LOSS for Trump and MAGA
MAGA is furious with the deal
President Biden won and Donald Trump/MAGA lost—again. It’s that simple when it comes to the debt ceiling deal announced Saturday night.
Keep in mind Trump was demanding a debt ceiling default because he wants to tank our strong economy given he believes it helps him win in 2024. Trump publicly stated and posted on social media as much, recently writing that Republicans should cause a default, “UNLESS THEY [GOP] GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT (Including the “kitchen sink”).” (The all caps were in Trump’s postings.) Trump knew Biden would never, ever give in to all the GOP’s demands, so he was in reality calling for a debt ceiling default given it would have caused pain from main street to Wall street—and everywhere in between—with layoffs, interest rate spikes and worse.
This is a big reason why last Sunday, President Biden warned that the goal of MAGA Reps in the House was to undermine our economy to help Trump win in 2024—as I wrote about last week. It’s also why Trump’s allies in the GOP House caucus are the loudest slamming both the proposed deal and GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy for agreeing to it.
GOP Rep Ken Buck tweeted: “Ronald Reagan said: "If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later." Speaker McCarthy's version: "If you can get five or six percent of what you were asking for, you take the deal and claim victory."
Republican Rep. Ralph Norman wrote on Twitter: “This “deal” is insanity. A $4T debt ceiling increase with virtually no cuts is not what we agreed to. Not gonna vote to bankrupt our country. The American people deserve better.”
Then there was North Carolina Rep Dan Bishop who tweeted: “RINOs congratulating McCarthy for getting almost zippo in exchange for $4T debt ceiling hike.” (You can read even more MAGA Reps going ballistic here.)
This doesn’t mean all Democrats are happy either. Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on CNN Sunday morning that the White House does “have to worry” that progressive Democrats may not support the agreement. Jayapal, however, added that until lawmakers see “the exact legislative text,” it’s unclear how much opposition there will be.
As of the writing of this article, we still don’t have the text—and there could be changes before this all done. But what we know from the reporting so far is that the budget deal was truly a win when you look at the extreme demands that the House GOP laid out in the bill they passed last month. That legislation called for massive budget cuts—of between 14 to 22 percent--to domestic programs over the next ten years. The GOP also demanded the cancelation of Biden’s student loan relief program, rolling back Biden’s climate change achievements and more--all in return for raising the debt ceiling for just one year.
Check out the deal Biden got. For starters and very importantly, it raises the debt ceiling for two years—not one as the GOP wanted. That means during the 2024 presidential election the House GOP can neither hold our economy hostage in exchange for massive cuts—nor cause a default that would be horrific for our economy but could be perceived as good for the 2024 GOP presidential candidate.
In addition, the budget cuts agreed--to per a NY Times analysis Sunday--amount to only “a fraction of the cuts Republicans originally sought.” In addition, Biden’s student loan relief program and climate change policies all remain intact. The deal also meets the requests in Biden’s budget to increase spending for the military and veterans affairs in line with inflation. However, the deal will include increasing work requirements—temporarily—as demanded by the GOP for certain federal programs but at the same time it expands food stamp benefits for veterans and the homeless.
The reality is that this deal—if approved—was much more than just about raising the debt ceiling. Like many of us, I believed—as I wrote last week--that President Biden should invoke the untested, yet legally plausible approach of invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to authorize the Treasury to pay bills above the debt limit. (The history behind that post-Civil War Amendment makes using it today against the same GOP responsible for the Jan 6 attack was especially fitting.)
But it became clear late last week from President Biden that these negotiations were more focused on reaching a broader budget deal. As the President stated Thursday afternoon: “I want to be clear that the negotiations were happening with Speaker McCarthy is about the outlines of what the budget will look like, not about default.” He added, “It's about competing visions for America. Speaker McCarthy and I have a very different view of who should bear the burden of additional efforts to get our fiscal house in order.”
In reality, the deal reached is much more about future spending limits than it is with simply raising the debt ceiling to pay for past appropriations. Again we still need the text, but the reporting is that in sum the agreement “would keep non-defense spending roughly flat in the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1 percent the following year.”
After the deal was announced Saturday night, President Biden released a statement addressing what he expected would be push back from some—including fellow Democrats--to the proposed deal. The President wrote: “The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want.” He added, “That’s the responsibility of governing.”
The President is right: Not everyone will be happy—including some fellow Democrats. However, given the GOP won the House in 2022, compromise was needed to avoid economic catastrophe as well as to reach a budget deal.
Now, there is a simple way for us to avoid having to compromise with the GOP in the future: WIN control of the House in 2024. Until then, the GOP does control the House—and that is the chamber of Congress where all spending bills must originate as mandated by Article 1 of the Constitution.
But one thing is clear: Biden got the best of this deal while Trump and MAGA lost.
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