U.S. House Passes Fiscal Responsibility Act, Raising Debt Ceiling Amid Bipartisan Opposition

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives gave the green light to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the brainchild of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and President Joe Biden, aimed at raising the debt ceiling until after the 2024 presidential election.

The legislative move to suspend the $31 trillion debt limit sparked opposition from 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats, but ultimately passed with a decisive 314 to 117 vote.

The bipartisan legislation was hailed by McCarthy as a significant achievement.

In a speech on the House floor, he expressed optimism about the bill’s potential impact on national finances, stating, “We’re finally bending the curve on discretionary spending because of this bill, and we’re doing it while at the same time raising our national defense and our veterans fully funded, with Social Security and Medicare preserved. That is a major victory.”

President Biden mirrored McCarthy’s sentiment, lauding the bill’s passage as a “critical step forward” in preventing a first-ever national economic default.

He emphasized the protections the bill offers for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing,” Biden said, according to NBC News.

He further emphasized that the agreement safeguards critical programs relied upon by “millions of hardworking families, students, and veterans.”

However, not all responses to the bill were positive.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus was the main driving force behind the GOP’s resistance to the compromise, voicing concerns that the agreement was overly diluted and insufficiently robust in terms of spending cuts.

Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) encapsulated this sentiment, reportedly saying, “No one sent us here to borrow an additional $4 trillion to get absolutely nothing in return.”

The Congressional Budget Office weighed in, projecting that the debt would decrease by $1.5 trillion over the coming decade under the imposed spending restrictions outlined in the bill.

Now, the Fiscal Responsibility Act moves forward to the Senate.

With the threat of a U.S. default looming on June 5, Biden has called on lawmakers to expedite the bill’s passage.