On Saturday night, a preliminary agreement was reached to raise the U.S. debt limit and cut government spending to avoid the U.S. going into default. The deal comes after months of Joe Biden’s lack of action on the debt crisis. The deal extends the debt limit until the end of 2024 while implementing a cap on annual discretionary spending for two years and a 1% increase in 2025. The agreement also includes cuts demanded by Republicans, despite the White House initially opposing spending reductions in a debt ceiling deal.
As PJ Media’s Rick Moran noted, the deal may not seem significant, but it actually is quite unprecedented. Notably, it includes a reduction in funding for the IRS, the introduction of work requirements for certain government benefits, and the retrieval of billions of dollars from COVID-19 relief funds. The agreement also reinstates student loan repayments. Another defeat for the left is that the bill expands work requirement for food stamps, though it won’t be required for Medicaid recipients.
Is the deal perfect? No. Of course not. But Joe Biden had long opposed any spending cuts, and so it was a victory for McCarthy and the House GOP. Naturally, not all conservatives see it that way, and seeing as the deal will still have to pass the GOP-controlled House, there is still a possibility that changes could be made in order to ensure it gets passed.
Conservatives will never see all the cuts they want when there is a Democrat-controlled White House and Senate. Keep in mind, Republicans have historically advocated for smaller government and spending cuts, yet haven’t exactly been successful in achieving significant reductions in spending — even when they have held majorities in Congress and controlled the White House. Compromise is required in a divided government. This is a feature, not a bug of our constitutional republic.
Some members of the Democratic Party, such as Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have urged President Joe Biden to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally by invoking the 14th Amendment. Considering that Joe Biden has modeled his presidency after his former boss Barack Obama, I think we should be relieved that any sort of deal was achieved at all. Barack Obama was known for taking unilateral (and unconstitutional) actions to advance his agenda; it is not unreasonable to consider the possibility that Biden would accuse Republicans of not negotiating in good faith and resorting to the approach advocated by Fetterman and Ocasio-Cortez to position himself as a hero in the face of the impending debt crisis.
In light of the current circumstances, conservatives should understand that until they have full control over the federal government, it will be impossible to reign in on spending the way they really want to — and even then they rarely follow through. Republicans have a nasty habit of talking the conservative talk when they’re in the minority or don’t have the presidency but failing to walk the walk when they actually have power. So I’m going to ignore the complaints of those thinking we could have gotten a better deal and acknowledge the fact that sometimes, we have to compromise.