Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday gave its support to the pact between US President Joe Biden and Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for some cuts in public spending.
The bill will now go to the Senate.five days before the deadline set by the Treasury Department is reached, after which the country could default on its national debt.
A large majority of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the measure.after several conservatives from the most extreme wing of the party expressed their rejection of the initiative, considering that it does not do enough to limit spending.
In a speech before the vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy encouraged fellow party members to vote in favor of the measurewhich he described as “the biggest spending cut in the history of the United States”.
“Taxpayers will save about $2.1 billion dollars. And for the first time in more than a decade, Congress will spend less next year than this year,” McCarthy said.
If approved in the Senate, with a Democratic majority, and receive Biden’s signaturethe measure will raise the debt ceiling for the next two years, that is, until after the next presidential elections.
In return, the White House agrees to reduce spending levels and introduce some requirements for food aid programs and vulnerable families.
Besides, part of the boost to public finances previously approved by the Democrats is reducedand the process for processing infrastructure projects is streamlined, limiting the time that can be delayed to carry out environmental analyses.
“New roads, bridges, highways and gas pipelines will be built sooner and faster thanks to the reforms of this regulation”McCarthy said at a news conference after the vote.
The Republican defended the agreement against those who consider that it does not do enough to reduce spending.
“We were never going to have them all,” he conceded, before affirming that he will continue working to expand the limits on public spending and other conservative priorities included in the pact.
In a statement, Biden thanked McCarthy for negotiating in good faith, and called on the Senate to pass the measure “as soon as possible.”
The approval of the agreement in both chambers of Congress is crucial so that the country does not default on its public debt, after the debt ceiling was reached last January, the legal limit to the money that the United States can borrow to meet your commitments.
Lawmakers have until June 5 to approve the measure in both chambers, the date on which the Treasury Department estimates that the country will exhaust its reserves.
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