And the squabbling is only getting louder.
Last week, before departing for a weeklong recess, the House voted on the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 (H.R.2811).
Working to raise the looming debt ceiling, H.R.2811 expands the limit imposed by Congress on the amount of debt the U.S. federal government can have outstanding. The bill includes significant cuts to discretionary spending by $130 billion for FY 2024, limiting future increases further to one percent a year for the next 10 years.
While the legislation narrowly passed (largely along party lines) 217-215 in the House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to “hold hearings to expose the true impact” of the bill, which he described in a recent colleague letter as “a hard-right ransom note to the American people.”
Sen. Schumer further said the bill would never pass the Senate, continuing to reiterate his preference for a “clean” debt limit increase – one without policy changes or conditions.
Sixteen blocks down Pennsylvania Ave., White House officials backed the Senate preference for a clean increase; however, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) have both underscored their support for a negotiated solution, hoping to forge compromise between H.R.2811 and Democrats’ demand for a clean bill.
Given Senate Democrats’ one-seat majority over the Republicans, coupled with a hardline position against the House bill, there is skepticism of Sen. Schumer’s ability to forge consensus on a solution. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) has even been quoted as saying, “There is no solution in the Senate.”
Further complicating matters, any potential compromise will have to, once again, pass in the House, where Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says he remains open to working with the White House and Senate Democrats to reach a deal. Congressional leaders are set to meet with President Biden at the White House next week to discuss the fiscal cliff.
Although prominent Republicans are casting doubt on their conference’s willingness to entertain changes from the already-passed H.R.2811, NSBA will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep the small-business community apprised of major developments.