The president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, have reached an agreement in principle on legislation to increase the country’s debt capacity and avoid default.
Negotiators were now rushing to complete the text of the bill. McCarthy said the House of Representatives would vote on the bill on Wednesday, giving the Senate time to review it before a June 5 deadline to prevent the government from going into receivership.
Although many details were unknown, the two sides were able to mention some victories. But some conservatives expressed reservations that the bill did not sufficiently cut the deficit going forward, while Democrats are concerned about proposed changes to employment requirements on aid programs such as food stamps.RELATED
Here’s a look at what’s included in the deal and what’s not, based on what’s known so far:
Debt increase in two years, spending limits
The deal would keep defense margin spending roughly stable in fiscal 2024 and increase it by 1% the following year, as well as provide a debt limit increase for two years after the 2024 presidential election, according to one person. familiar with the deal who offered details on condition of anonymity.
Veterans medical care
The deal will fully cover veterans’ healthcare at the levels included in Biden’s 2024 draft budget, including a fund for veterans exposed to toxic substances or environmental hazards. Biden requested in his spending plan 20.3 billion dollars for the fund associated with exposure to toxic products.
Republicans have proposed increasing the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents on some assistance programs. They claimed that would bring more people into the workforce, which in turn would pay taxes and help bolster welfare programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Democrats have flatly rejected those changes, saying they would make fewer people able to afford food or health care, without actually increasing the number of workers.
Congressional Republicans had passed a law that would toughen employment requirements for some Medicaid recipients, but that was ultimately cut from the deal.
However, the text will expand the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. The agreement would increase the age of the current work requirement from 49 to 54, similar to the Republican proposal, though those changes would expire in 2030. And the White House said it would at the same time reduce the number of vulnerable people from all walks of life. ages subject to those requirements.
Accelerate energy projects
The agreement implements changes to the national environmental policy law that will designate “a single agency” to do environmental assessments, hoping to streamline the process.
Republicans wanted to reverse Biden’s efforts to forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in debt for all student loan holders. But the clause was a red line for Democrats. The budget deal maintains Biden’s debt relief, though the Supreme Court will have the final say on the matter.
The Supreme Court is dominated 6-3 by conservatives, and those justices’ questions in oral arguments showed skepticism about the legality of Biden’s student loan plan. A decision is expected before the end of June.