A few brief comments from my perspective: President Biden and Speaker McCarthy finally made a deal to seemingly prevent a default on the U.S. debt situation and a bill to that effect has been passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate—ready for Biden to sign.
That is apparently a good thing according to some, however according to many Republicans, especially the Freedom Caucus, it is a major betrayal by Speaker McCarthy who apparently broke his promises to many of his fellow Republicans.
Interestingly, more Democrats voted for the bill than did Republicans. The Democrats rallied around Biden to insure he did not get blamed for a default, among all the other failures from his office. McCarthy may be considered a hero by some and a dunce by others.
Frankly in my view, this agreement and legislation is nothing more than an insipid band aid that could come back to bite the American people in the ass!
Here is the essence of the arrangement according to my research :
“The deal would suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling until Jan. 1, 2025, allowing the U.S. government to pay its bills.
In exchange, non-defense discretionary spending would be “roughly flat” at current year levels in 2024, “when factoring in agreed upon appropriations adjustments,” according to White House officials.
They estimated that total non-defense discretionary spending excluding benefits for veterans would total $637 billion for the 2024 fiscal year, down marginally from $638 billion the year before. That total would also increase by 1% in 2025.
The debt limit extension lasts past 2024, meaning Congress would not need to address the deeply polarizing issue again until after the November 2024 presidential election.
That is about a 3% increase from the $858 billion allocated in the current budget for the Pentagon and other defense-related programs in other agencies which according to many conservatives is not enough.
Biden and McCarthy agreed to claw back much of the unused Covid relief funds as part of the budget deal. The estimated amount of unused funds is between $50 billion and $70 billion.
White House officials said some funds would be retained, including items related to vaccine funding, housing assistance and support for Native Americans.
Biden and McCarthy battled fiercely over imposing stricter work requirements on low-income Americans for being eligible for food and healthcare programs.
No changes were made to Medicaid in the deal, but the agreement would impose new work requirements on some low-income people who receive food assistance under the program known as SNAP up to age 54, instead of up to age 50.
The bill did not strike down Biden’s plan to forgive $430 billion in student debt, which the Supreme Court is currently reviewing.
Biden and McCarthy agreed to new rules to make it easier for energy projects — including fossil-fuel based ones — to gain permit approval. McCarthy and his Republicans had identified permitting reform as one of the pillars of any deal and the White House threw its support behind the plan earlier this month.”
Folks, the major problem, as I see it, is that unless the Republicans win both Houses and the Presidency in 2024, and indeed there is no guarantee of that happening, the Democrats will go wild in two years with unlimited spending making things much worse. In two years the lid could come off again creating a major depression!
In my opinion, our economy and the security of our nation are still at risk and the plan does not go far enough to resolve our debt crisis involving trillions of dollars.
As always your comments are welcome and appreciated.
JUDSON Bennett-Coastal Network