Ted Cruz Calls Kevin McCarthy’s Debt Deal a ‘Blank Check’ for Democrats

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, signaled opposition on Sunday to the deal reached to raise the country’s debt limit by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Biden and McCarthy, a California Republican, announced a tentative deal on Saturday night to raise the $31.5 trillion debt limit for two years while also cutting federal spending. The deal comes just days before the United States is set to default on its commitments—which experts say would have devastating impacts to the global economy.

The deal is being touted as a compromise, with neither side receiving everything on their wish list during negotiations. The deal will extend the debt limit until January 2025, cap spending in the 2024 and 2025 budgets, repeal unused COVID-19 relief funds, cut Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding and add work requirements for food aid programs, CNN reported.

Now, the deal must receive support from a majority of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Already, various factions of Congress are threatening to withhold their support for the agreement. Progressives Democrats are condemning the GOP’s spending cuts and the new work requirement. Meanwhile, many conservatives are saying the deal did not go far enough with spending and that raising the debt ceiling without more cuts would be fiscally irresponsible.

Ted Cruz criticizes debt ceiling deal
Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, speaks during a press conference on May 3 in Washington, D.C. Cruz voiced criticism on Sunday of the deal reached by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Responding to a clip of McCarthy praising the agreement, Cruz indicated on Twitter that he may not support the deal when it comes to a vote in the Senate.

“Right now, the Democrats are very upset. The one thing [House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries] told me—there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats,” the House speaker said.

Cruz disagreed in a tweet by saying there are “4 trillion things” for Democrats.

“He’s right. There’s not ‘one thing’ for Dems. There are $4 trillion things—a blank check—for Democrats. Plus 87,000 things: new IRS agents to harass Americans. All in exchange for eliminating virtually ALL of the House’s spending cuts,” the Republican lawmaker wrote on Sunday afternoon.

Newsweek reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment via email.

Legislation in the Senate usually requires 60 votes to pass due to the chamber’s filibuster, but senators voted to bypass that mechanism to raise the debt ceiling in 2021, meaning only 51 votes were needed. Democrats currently hold 51 Senate seats, meaning some sort of bipartisanship will likely be needed in order to get the bill through the chamber.

Opposition from several members of the House could also stand in the way of the bill passing.

Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, announced on Twitter that she would vote against the bill.

“Our base didn’t volunteer, door knock and fight so hard to get us the majority for this kind of compromise deal with Joe Biden. Our voters deserve better than this. We work for them. You can count me as a NO on this deal. We can do better,” the congresswoman tweeted on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the bill may also be facing resistance from some Democrats.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat, said members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which she chairs, may also vote against the bill during a CNN appearance on Sunday, pointing to issues surrounding the work requirement for food aid.

“It is bad policy. I told the president that directly when he called me last week on Wednesday. This is saying to poor people and people who are in need that we don’t trust them. And the average amount of assistance for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is $6 a day. We’re talking about $6 a day. And I think it is really unfortunate that the president opened the door to this.” Jayapal said.

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