Far-right House Republicans are reportedly “thrilled” with the debt ceiling legislation presented by Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this week, and it’s no surprise why. According to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), McCarthy (R-Calif.) took the House Freedom Caucus plan and transformed it into legislative text, aligning the party with the hardline demands of far-right Republicans.
The Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 would revert federal spending back to fiscal year 2022 levels, cap annual spending growth at 1% over the next decade, and impose new work requirements on recipients of Medicaid and federal food assistance that could kick millions off lifesaving programs. These are central demands of the House Freedom Caucus members who threatened to deny McCarthy the speaker’s gavel in January.
The GOP’s debt ceiling bill is essentially a MAGA wishlist, not a serious proposal, which would have disastrous impacts on federal programs related to housing, education, healthcare, climate, and other critical areas. This plan only highlights the extent to which McCarthy is controlled by the fringes of his caucus.
If passed, which is unlikely given opposition from congressional Democrats and the Biden White House, the Republican bill would increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion or suspend the ceiling until next March. This would set up another high-stakes standoff in early 2024, a presidential election year.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development warned that roughly 640,000 families would lose rental assistance if its budget was reverted to fiscal year 2022 levels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 1.2 million people would lose access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) under the Republican proposal.
These proposed cuts demonstrate the GOP’s lack of concern for American families in need. Their plan would take food off the tables of millions, strip away healthcare from children, veterans, and seniors, and saddle millions with crushing student debt.
Ezra Levin, co-executive director of Indivisible, criticized the House GOP leadership’s proposal as “a reflection of just how totally controlled by the fringes of his caucus McCarthy is.” This plan showcases the GOP’s willingness to cater to the extreme demands of the MAGA movement instead of prioritizing the wellbeing of the American people.