Washington — House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries expects Democrats will vote on a deal between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden to increase the debt ceiling, but would not say how much support from his caucus he expects.
“I do expect that there will be Democratic support once we have the ability to actually be fully briefed by the White House,” the Democratic leader told “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “But I’m not going to predict what those numbers may ultimately look like.”
Jeffries said he can guarantee the U.S. will not default on its debt.
Negotiators for Mr. Biden and Republican congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement late Saturday night as the U.S. inches closer to defaulting on its debt, which could melt the global economy.
McCarthy told Fox News earlier Sunday he expects a majority of Republicans will vote for the bill to raise the debt ceiling, although he said “one thing Hakeem told me” was “there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats.” Jeffries told “Face the Nation” that he has “no idea what he’s talking about,” because he has not been able to “review the actual legislative text.”
Jeffries said it’s his understanding that at least 150 Republicans would vote for the deal. That means at least 67 Democrats are needed to pass the bill in the House.
When asked whether he can deliver a majority of Democrats, Jeffries said he looks forward to the White House briefing Democrats on Sunday afternoon.
“We’ll be able to have a robust discussion,” he said.
The head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, told CNN on Sunday that Jeffries should be worried about defections from the left flank of the party. But Jeffries said the deal makes “incredibly significant steps forward” in terms of protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans.
Republican Rep. French Hill of Arkansas told “Face the Nation” he is “confident” there will be at least 150 GOP votes.
“I believe that we’ll have those votes on Wednesday because we limit the rate of growth we cut spending, we clawback unneeded spending and recisions, we stop unnecessary spending and we get our economy growing with regulatory relief and by encouraging more people back to work,” he said.
McCarthy said he expects the text of the bill to be made public on Sunday and the House to vote on Wednesday.
Responding to criticism from House Freedom Caucus members, who have said they won’t support the deal, Hill urged them to read the bill first.
“I’m one of those people that wanted bigger reductions,” Hill said. “But I also recognize we control only the House of Representatives. We’ve got to get it through the Senate.”
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