Business community urges House to support debt ceiling compromise

The United States House of Representatives Rules Committee on Tuesday voted 7-6 to send to the full House the deal negotiated by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling until 2025. This comes after weeks of tense negotiations between both parties. 

The full House is expected to vote on H.R. 3746, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 on Wednesday. The Senate could take up the bill on Friday, as leaders work to get the bill to the president’s desk by June 5, the date Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen says the government will default. 

The deal caps spending for all non-defense items until 2024, with a 1% increase in 2025. Defense spending would rise 3% in 2024, with no cap in 2025. This spending also increases funding for veterans’ healthcare. Other major changes include a return of unspent COVID funds, an age increase for SNAP benefits from 50 to 54 with exceptions for veterans and the homeless, and an increase in IRS funding over the next decade. 

The agreement has earned plaudits from state- and national-level business groups, which are calling for its swift passage. 

“A default on our debt would be disastrous for the American economy, harming job creators, workers and families, and undermining U.S. leadership around the world,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “The time for debate over whether to raise the debt limit has come to an end. If we are to avoid catastrophic and long-term economic consequences, then it must be done. Congress must put party politics aside and do what’s right for the country.” 

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, agreed. 

“As we have said from the beginning, defaulting on our debt would create economic chaos, harming manufacturing workers and their families and jeopardizing our leadership in the world,” he said. “Congress should act quickly to pass this agreement and to demonstrate to Americans and to the world the continued strength of our institutions and our democracy.” 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Capitol Hill on Monday saying that the vote would figure into the U.S. Chamber’s “How They Voted” Scorecard. 

“Defaulting on America’s debt is not an option, and this sensible compromise legislation should serve as a template for how greater deals for the fiscal health of the country can be achieved,” the letter said. 

In Texas, the Texas Association of Business says the agreement is a testament to the leadership of McCarthy.

“Speaker McCarthy was not dealt a great hand, but credit to him for walking away with a very solid deal for the business community and the country,” TAB President and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “This compromise is a good one and deserves to be passed.” 

Although allies of both McCarthy and Biden celebrated the deal, the extremes of both parties rained down criticism. 

Two GOP members of the Freedom Caucus who also serve on the Rules Committee voted against advancing the bill. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also expressed her displeasure with the deal, saying that Biden and his allies should worry about progressive support of the debt ceiling deal extension, adding another potential landmine in an already perilous situation. 

The Fiscal Responsibility Act also makes significant headway on permitting reform for energy projects throughout the United States. The BUILDER Act, which is included in the debt ceiling deal, would shorten the approval process for new energy projects from up to seven years to two years and significantly streamline scientific review proceedings. 

Republican freshman Arizona Rep. Juan Ciscomani said in a tweet he will vote for the bill and not risk catastrophic default. 

“I will be a yes on this week’s debt ceiling vote. The alternatives are a clean lift or defaulting on our obligations — two options I’m not willing to entertain,” Ciscomani said. “I was elected to responsibly govern, and what Republicans have negotiated is a step in the right direction.” 

Seiden applauded the announcement. 

“Once again, Congressman Ciscomani is demonstrating why he’s considered a rising star on Capitol Hill,” Seiden said. “All members of the Arizona delegation should follow his example, stop the grandstanding, and preserve the health of the U.S. economy.”

Tommy Logan

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