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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Makes Concessions To GOP Hardliners In Debt-Limit Budget

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and other top Republicans amended their bill to limit the national debt late Tuesday night. The overnight changes came after several statements by McCarthy suggested that the legislation was already in its final form.

A looming default crisis threatens to ensue if Republicans and Democrats don’t agree to raise the debt limit in the next few weeks.

“Last-minute changes are no way to run a railroad,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), one of the members that the changes attempted to satisfy, told reporters on Wednesday.

The changes include a new work requirement for Medicaid recipients – expanding the workable age from 50 to 56. All Medicaid beneficiaries under 56 would have to prove they work at least 20 hours to receive benefits if passed. Another change included restoring tax breaks for biofuels like ethanol.

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The bill is heading to the House floor as early as Wednesday. The negotiations are McCarthy’s biggest legislative test since he was voted Speaker. McCarthy can only stand to lose four votes in the House or face defeat.

Republicans have criticized Democrats for driving up the national debt, though most of the debt increase occurred under GOP control of Congress and the White House.

The GOP is attempting to cut back on spending, but their slim majority has made finding cut-worthy programs difficult.

The bill, which proposes major cuts to domestic programs in the federal budget, will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate – according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York). Schumer said the bill should be renamed the “Default On America Act.”

Ben Shimkus

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