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Leadership dynamics explain why there's still no debt limit deal

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

The negotiators’ ability to close a deal will depend in large part on how rank-and-file lawmakers react to the narrowing proposals.

“It’s not good for either side if they can’t bring a substantial number of votes to the table,” Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole said. “That certainly would put the speaker in a challenging, long-term situation. And it’s not good for the president.”

McCarthy has vowed to deliver votes from a majority of his conference for any bipartisan deal he signs off on — a political necessity ingrained into House GOP leadership doctrine as much as a gesture of good will.

“I firmly believe what we’re negotiating right now a majority of Republicans will see that it is a right place to put us (on) a right path,” McCarthy said Monday.

Biden has not made any such public promises but delivering votes from a majority of his party would help ensure Democrats can sell any bipartisan compromise as a good deal.

“Any deal that the White House strikes has to be something that House Democrats also are a part of and at the table for,” Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal said.


Jayapal said a whip survey of the 102-member Congressional Progressive Caucus that she chairs revealed “overwhelming” opposition to some of the proposals Republicans are pushing in negotiations.

“Our caucus overwhelmingly in our whip count said that they would not agree to a bill that has work requirements that hurt poor people, would not agree to a bill that has bad permitting reforms, would not agree to a bill that cuts spending that the American people need,” she said.

Conservatives, meanwhile, are expressing frustration at what they’re hearing may be a $3 trillion-plus debt limit increase without several policies included in the House-passed bill that would have lifted the borrowing cap by half that amount.

“My antenna is up that that does not seem to me to meet what our expectations are in terms of transformative substantive fiscal reforms,” Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy said.


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