OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
5:38 PM – Wednesday, April 26, 2023
A bill extending the country’s debt ceiling was approved by the House on Wednesday after days of deliberation among Republican legislators to support the measure.
The final vote was 217-215, with four Republicans voting against the bill. Those GOP memebers were Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
The Democrat-led Senate is expected to completely reject the bill, however the approval of the bill from the House of Representatives reportedly solidifies House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) position at the negotiating table with the White House.
After leadership made a flurry of last-minute adjustments intended to win over key GOP holdouts, House Republicans rallied around their proposal to increase the country’s borrowing limit and reduce government spending. This was a significant reversal after leadership stated they would not change the bill language.
In a closed-door conference meeting on Wednesday, GOP members were able to influence Representative Nancy Mace (R-S.C), who had declared her opposition to the bill as early as Wednesday morning, in changing her vote. McCarthy had walked members through some of the 11-hour changes.
Mace had told reporters that she had “fe[lt] heard by the Speaker” because “he listened to [her] concerns.”
Changes in the bill included that Republicans agreed to allow proposed work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries to be implemented on a quicker timetable. Republicans also agreed to keep some tax advantages for biofuels like ethanol from being repealed.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Mn.) defended the leadership’s decision to reverse course and make changes to the plan they had initially drafted.
“The bill was closed. You just heard that there were technical changes. There’s nothing of substance that was changed in the bill,” Emmer said. “So the bill was closed, and we will pass it.”
In January, when the country’s debt had reached its $31.4 trillion ceiling, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was forced to take “extraordinary measures” to make the required payments.
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