During a recent appearance on the CBS program Face The Nation, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who is the top Democrat in the House, fact-checked House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over the latter potentially making up a statement from Jeffries.
The context was the recent negotiating process around a deal to raise the nation’s debt limit, which deals with actions the government can take to accommodate expenses to which authorities were already obliged. The United States had recently been coming closer and closer to needing a legal lift to the limit in order to avoid a default, which could have created a cascade of damaging economic impacts, with benefit payments and military salaries threatened. “I think there’s going to be a lot of Democrats who vote for it too,” McCarthy said after an agreement was reached. “Right now, the Democrats are very upset. But one thing Hakeem told me, there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats.”
Jeffries called the Republican leader’s bluff. “I have no idea what he’s talking about, particularly because I have not been able to review the actual legislative text,” Jeffries said in a discussion following Republican leadership and the White House settling on an arrangement. “All that we’ve reached is an agreement in principle… What I have consistently said, however, privately and publicly, was that the extreme MAGA Republican negotiating position, and that the extreme bill that they passed on April 26, the default on America act, contained nothing that was consistent with Democratic values or American values.”
Jeffries further discussed in his remarks how the Republican position in these negotiations was, at least at first, rather ridiculous, since the House GOP plan contained a raft of provisions Democrats were never going to support — would they have even been Democrats anymore? — though a deal was needed.
In his own recently made comments, Biden took somewhat of a victory lap after the unveiling of an agreement in principle, meaning a deal without the accompanying legislative text immediately available. Though some funding for the IRS was slashed, the final series of agreements kept new and Republican-demanded work requirements for federal benefit programs much more limited than the original GOP ambitions.