Tuesday, May 30, 2023

House GOP Negotiators Hold the Line on Debt Ceiling With a 'Hell No' to Getting Rid of Work Requirements

House GOP Negotiators Hold the Line on Debt Ceiling With a 'Hell No' to Getting Rid of Work Requirements

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

We are now just about a week away from the June 5 deadline that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has recently issued--as an update to the June 1 date--before the nation heads towards default. President Joe Biden, after rebuffing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) attempts at negotiations for over three months, is skipping town for the long holiday weekend while the White House gaslights with reckless abandon. Republicans are doing their part, though, which includes McCarthy's negotiators. 

One of them, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), provided an update to reporters on Friday afternoon that shows they are holding the line, at least on the most basic, no-brainer ideas.

Graves strongly denounced opposition from the White House on work requirements, expressing "if you're really going to fall on the sword for [work requirements], versus actually negotiating something that changes the trajectory of the country, for spending, I mean, that's crazy to me that we're even having this debate today." 

When asked by CNN's Manu Raju if House Republicans would be willing to drop work requirements, Graves responded in no uncertain terms with an "hell no, hell no, not a chance."

This reform proposal was one of seven mentioned in a memo to House Republicans earlier this week from Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) in which he reminded his colleagues of the importance of "making clear we are unified to hold the line."

Democrats, meanwhile, are in disarray over how negotiations are going, especially when it comes to the more progressive members. They're also facing regret for how they've handled it, including when it comes to not raising it last year when they still controlled the chamber. 

When it comes to the White House's opposition to work requirements, House Republicans warn could impact other benefit programs. As The Hill reported:

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) argued the Democrats’ staunch opposition to tougher work requirements will threaten the recipients of other federal benefit programs. He characterized overall progress as “slow.” 

“Their efforts actually put in jeopardy those very benefits to senior citizens like Medicare and Social Security, because they’re refusing to negotiate on work requirements,” Graves said as he emerged from the office of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) after 7 p.m. Thursday evening. 

“I mean, this is just a crazy calculation on their part,” he added.

Graves emphasized that work requirements are not the only barrier to a deal, but rank among the most significant. 

“We have a lot of hangups, but that’s one of the bigger issues that we’re dealing with,” he said.

Multiple polls show that work requirements enjoy strong support from the American people. Further, a Fox News poll shows that Americans will blame President Biden over Congressional Republicans 47-44 percent if the nation defaults. And, a CNN poll conducted around the same time shows that most Americans, at 60 percent, support the Republican plan of raising the debt ceiling only while cutting spending. 

Raju had also caught up with another negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who defended the Republican position and the need to raise the debt ceiling while cutting spending.

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