The members of the House of Representatives approved yesterday Wednesday with a wide majority the bill that suspends the debt limitthereby removing the specter of a US default, which would have disastrous consequences for the US and global economy.

Last night [τοπική ώρα· τις πρώτες πρωινές ώρες σήμερα ώρα Ελλάδας] the bill received 314 votes, 165 Democrats and 149 Republicans, while 117 members of the body voted against it, 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats.

It now remains to be adopted by the Senate, which is called on to vote as soon as possible, with the leader of the majority of the Democrats Chuck Schumer assuring earlier yesterday that he will table it for debate and vote “as soon as possible” to “avoid default”.

The result of marathon and hard-fought negotiations that ended over three days on Memorial Day, the bill allows for the avoidance of the worst-case scenario, which was a default by the US federal government next Monday.

To avoid this potentially devastating scenario for the world’s largest economy, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement that, like all compromises, satisfied no one.

Before the vote, the Republican “speaker” admitted that there is no unanimity in his party, while expressing his optimism and emphasizing that “today, we will adopt the largest cuts in public spending in American history.”

Because of the lack of partisan discipline on the other side, Democratic leaders, while uneasy about being forced to overhaul the budget and cut spending, vowed to provide the votes needed to pass the bill.

“The House Democrats will make sure the country doesn’t declare bankruptcy. Perfect, that’s all,” said their leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“We’re not going to let the extremist Republicans sink our economy and make the American people suffer,” he said later in the semi-circle, expressing hope that Mr. McCarthy would secure at least two-thirds of the GOP caucus’s 150 votes. votes.

Republicans control the House by a slim majority (222-213).

President Biden went to Colorado last night and before his departure said he hoped the bill would be approved by the House of Representatives before he arrived in the state of the American West.

“By the time I land, Congress will vote, the House will vote, and we’ll have taken another step,” said the octogenarian Democrat, who had already urged the body “strongly” to adopt the bill the day before.

After the vote, he spoke of “good news for the economy and the American people,” urging the Senate to “pass” the bill “as soon as possible so I can sign it.”

“Bad Deal”

Voices were raised in both camps that made it clear that they were not going to support the text.

Among Republicans, the harshest criticism came from the wing of Donald Trump’s most hard-line supporters, who demanded even greater spending cuts. Texas Rep. Chip Roy slammed the “bad deal” that “no Republican should vote for.” Some members of this group are even considering calling for Mr. McCarthy to be removed from office. However, the proposal has not been publicly supported so far except by a member of the House of Representatives.

More moderate Republicans, such as South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mays, also spoke out. “This ‘deal’ formalizes the record level reached during the pandemic and is the benchmark for future ones,” she said in justification of her vote.

In the ranks of the Democrats, members of the left wing, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal, refused to support the text that they said was “imposed” by the Republicans.

The bill suspends the debt limit ($31.4 trillion, a world record) until January 1, 2025, that is, until after the November 2024 presidential election.

In return, spending would be limited or flat, except for the armed forces and veterans, in 2024 and would increase by 1%, not adjusted for inflation, in 2025.

There is also a $10 billion cut in funds allocated to the IRS to modernize and strengthen controls.

According to Mr. McCarthy’s office, the agreement provides for the recovery of “billions of dollars” from funds that were allocated to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic but were not spent, without further clarification.

The compromise also included controversial welfare measures: it raises from 49 to 54 the age for childless adults who must work to receive food assistance, but removes that requirement for veterans and the homeless.