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Debt deal frays GOP unity McCarthy enjoyed since Speaker battle as prominent conservatives bolt

More conservatives are speaking out against the Fiscal Responsibility Act but many Republicans are supporting it too.

Published: May 29, 2023 11:07pm

Updated: May 30, 2023 8:25am

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s budget deal with the White House has frayed months of unity inside the House GOP after the bitter speaker race, as fiscal conservatives seethe over the size of its $4 trillion debt limit increase.

The divisions burst open over the Memorial Day weekend even as all GOP congressional leaders threw their support behind the compromise plan. The House is set to vote on the bill Wednesday.

House Republicans including Rep. Chip Roy (Texas) Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Reps. Dan Bishop (N.C.), Bob Good (Va.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Andrew Clyde(Ga.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Ben Cline (Va.), Andy Ogles (Tenn.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) have opposed the bill.

"The Fiscal Irresponsibility Act fails to cut spending and continues to fund the Democrats’ and Biden Administration’s radical agenda," Montana GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said on Monday. "Montanans did not send me to Washington to support business as usual, which is why I will be voting AGAINST the Fiscal Irresponsibility Act."

Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas have also expressed opposition to the bill. Cruz responded on Sunday to McCarthy saying that there isn't one thing for Democrats in the compromise bill.

"There’s not ‘one thing’ for Dems. There are $4 trillion things—a blank check—for Democrats," Cruz wrote in a tweet. "Plus 87,000 things: new IRS agents to harass Americans. All in exchange for eliminating virtually ALL of the House’s spending cuts."

McCarthy was pressed on Sunday about the conservatives opposing the legislation, in part, because it raises the debt ceiling by a higher amount than the previously passed House budget bill.

The bill that had already passed the House raised the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion into next year. The compromise bill raises the nation's borrowing authority by $4 trillion into January 2025.

"We let government grow, but at a slower rate," McCarthy said.

Despite the backlash, congressional leaders from both parties have said they are supporting the compromise bill.

“The Senate must act swiftly and pass this agreement without unnecessary delay,” Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Sunday evening.

Up to this point, McCarthy has been able to unite the conference to pass a series of bills that reflect much of the House GOP leadership's Commitment to America agenda despite a thin majority. The agenda was formally rolled out last September ahead of the November election.

According to Majority Leader Steve Scalise's office, the House will reconvene on Tuesday evening to begin debate on the bill and the final vote is expected to take place on Wednesday.

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