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Debt deal clears crucial hurdle, setting up House vote

Debt deal clears crucial hurdle, setting up House vote
A visitor walks by the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 11 May 2021. (Photo: EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS)

The debt-limit deal struck by the White House and House Republican leadership has cleared a crucial early hurdle on the way to a vote on Wednesday evening before the full House.

The House Rules committee, which controls floor debate, voted 7-6 to advance the bill. All Democrats on the committee voted against advancing the deal.

Representatives Chip Roy of Texas of and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, both members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus that has criticised the deal, also voted against moving it forward.

Congress is racing to pass the deal to suspend the debt ceiling before 5 June, the date by which the US could default. Yet leaders in both parties face opposition from members who are critical of the concessions made in the compromise forged by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The bill’s fate was in question before Tuesday’s hearing given the 13-member panel’s makeup, which includes four Democrats and three conservative Republicans.

Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, the third conservative Republican on the committee, voted to approve the measure providing enough votes to move it to the House floor.

“My purpose in being on this committee was not to imprint my ideology,” Massie said during Tuesday’s hearing. Massie later said he would support the bill. 

Party leaders expressed optimism that the House will quickly pass the bill. 

“We are going to make sure the country does not default,” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power” on Tuesday. “We will be able to get this bill over the finish line tomorrow,” he added. DM

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