The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation to suspend the federal debt ceiling with less than a week remaining before the government could run out of money to pay its bills.
U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are working to rally support for the compromise measure that includes spending cuts demanded by Republicans.
With Republicans holding a narrow majority in the House, Democrats holding a narrow Senate majority and wings of both parties unhappy with the terms of the deal, it is not certain there will be enough support for the bill to pass.
The House Rules Committee gave its approval Tuesday in a 7-6 vote that showed some of that discontent, as two Republicans voted against advancing the legislation.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned last week that Congress must raise the debt limit by June 5 or else the government will not be able to meet its financial obligations. She said even waiting until the last minute can seriously harm business and consumer confidence and negatively impact the country’s credit rating.
The proposal before Congress includes waiving the existing borrowing limit until January 2025 and a two-year budget deal that keeps federal spending flat in 2024 and increases it by 1% in 2025.
Other pieces include a reduction in the number of new agents hired by the country's tax collection agency, a requirement that states return $30 billion in unspent coronavirus pandemic assistance to the federal government, and extending from 50 to 54 the upper age bracket for those required to work in order to receive food aid.
Some liberal Democratic lawmakers have objected to the deal, saying it cuts too much in social welfare spending, while conservative Republicans have said it trims too little.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.