Freedom Caucus Lists Demands for Debt Limit Vote

Members of the House Freedom Caucus on Friday outlined the conditions necessary to attain their vote for a raise on the national debt limit, including setting a cap on discretionary spending for 10 years, stopping President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, and pulling back the $80 billion approved late last year to expand the Internal Revenue Service.

In their position paper, posted on Twitter, the Republican lawmakers also said they are seeking a return of the millions of dollars in COVID-19 funds that have not been spent, and to pull back the climate-change spending that was approved last year.

Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry, R-Pa., said that with its plans, the group wants to “shrink Washington.”

“We’re going to do that by saving now, by ending, first of all, the president’s $400 billion student loans bailout and rescinding all unobligated, unspent COVID-19 funds,” Perry said in a statement. “We’re going to recoup $80 billion in IRS expansion funds, as well as billions in wasteful climate change spending and the so-called Inflation Reduction Act. We’re going to find every dollar spent by Democrats that can be reclaimed so that we don’t have to raise the debt ceiling.

“We’re going to keep spending at the current level by setting top-line discretionary spending at the FY 22 levels. That cuts another $131 billion. What that does is that pays the bills so we don’t have to raise the debt ceiling, because we don’t have to if we quit spending money on things that we can’t afford and don’t need.”

With its position statement, the caucus is indicating it will vote as a group to block any bill that does not include its demands for spending cuts, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Demands for a discretionary spending cap would keep government spending at the levels set in fiscal year 2022. Programs such as Medicare and Social Security are not included in discretionary spending measures, which cover defense and nondefense spending.

Both sides of the aisle have taken Social Security and Medicare out of the negotiations in this year’s budget.

Capping discretionary spending will cut $131 billion in fiscal year 2024 and will save about $3 trillion “by cutting the wasteful, woke, and weaponized federal bureaucracy,” while protecting Social Security and Medicare, the caucus said in its statement.

“Furthermore, this enables Congress to use the appropriations process to address the many abuses and disasters caused by the Biden administration, such as the chaos on the southern border, COVID vaccine mandates and discrimination policies, and the unconstitutional ‘pistol brace’ ATF rule,” the statement read, referring to the brace that can be applied to a firearm, effectively rendering it a short-barrelled rifle, critics say.

In addition, the Freedom Caucus said it wants to take several steps to grow the economy and reform the federal bureaucracy:

  • Curtailing “burdensome regulations” through requiring congressional approval under the REINS Act.
  • Unleashing domestic energy by ending federal regulations and subsidies.
  • Restoring Clinton-era work requirements for welfare programs.
  • Passing a pre-emptive continuing resolution that includes nondefense discretionary spending that is restored to the pre-COVID fiscal year 2019 level, to “force Congress to pass appropriations in a timely manner.”

As Republicans hold the House majority by a slim margin of 222-213, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will need votes from the Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans to push through spending cuts that would be linked to the debt ceiling, The Wall Street Journal noted.

According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Congress must cut 85% of spending in all other categories to balance the budget in 10 years.

Reporting from Newsmax.