The White House launched a full court press against the Freedom Debt Chamber’s demands

Over the weekend, the White House stepped up its attack on the House Freedom Caucus after a bloc of conservatives made a series of demands to secure their vote to raise the national debt ceiling.

In a press release Saturday, framed as a memo addressed to the show’s producers, White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt accused Republican lawmakers of threatening to cut funding for law enforcement, border security, education and manufacturing while giving “tax breaks to the super-rich and wasteful spending by special interests.”

“MAGA House Republicans propose, if distributed evenly among affected discretionary programs, at least 20% across the board,” the press release said. “This means a 20% cut in law enforcement, border protection, education and manufacturing.

“These cuts will weaken our competition with China, increase costs for working families and threaten our national security,” the release said.

Liberty lawmakers laid out a number of their demands on Friday, setting the bar in the Republican Party ahead of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s return to talks with the White House.

The ultra-conservative group’s demands include reversing President Biden’s $400 billion student loan write-off, returning unspent COVID-19 funds, reversing the $80 billion IRS increase approved last December and capping discretionary spending at the 2022 level for the next decade .

“The current debt crisis was caused solely by the Democrats’ reckless policies and out-of-control spending,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, said Friday. “To ensure that America does not default on our debts, the House Freedom Caucus is proposing a responsible solution to the self-imposed crisis.”

With nearly 50 members and allies, the Freedom Caucus has the clout in the House of Representatives to influence negotiations. Mr McCarthy, however, did not say whether he agreed with the group’s latest demands.

The group says its plan to cap discretionary spending alone, allowing for 1% annual growth, would save $3 trillion over the long term while “shrinking a wasteful, bloated and armed federal bureaucracy.”

The proposal flies in the face of President Biden’s recently released $6.8 trillion budget for 2024, which calls for a surge in spending on social programs and about $5.5. trillions in new taxes.

The budget, which would target the US for record spending as a percentage of the economy, calls for an 8% increase over what the government plans to spend in the current fiscal year.

The Treasury Department began taking “emergency measures” in January to prevent a default when the government reached $31.4 trillion in debt. The emergency measures are expected to give the government enough room to cover day-to-day spending until the summer.

President Biden called on Congress to raise the debt ceiling “without conditions” and accused Republicans of using the nation’s full faith and credit as bargaining chips to cut vital programs like Social Security.

Mr. McCarthy, Republican of California, said Social Security and Medicare were not discussed in the debt reduction talks, but urged Democrats to come up with a plan to cut what he called continuing spending.

Lawmakers behind the House Freedom Caucus plan say their plan to limit discretionary spending puts the budget “on a path to balance while protecting pensions and Medicare benefits.”

The Freedom Caucus also wants to implement Clinton-era work requirements in Social Security programs.

On Saturday, the White House doubled down on claims that Republicans want to “take away Medicare from millions of people.”

“MAGA Republicans are demanding nationwide enforcement of failed state policies that strip Medicaid coverage from people who don’t meet red tape reporting requirements,” the White House said in a press release.

Mr McCarthy has indicated his intention to continue talks with Mr Biden on the debt ceiling after they held their first one-on-one talks last month.

Based on a briefing by the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Mr. McCarthy pushed the White House to continue negotiations.

“When the president delays our opportunity to negotiate together to help solve this problem, it only hurts our economy even more,” Mr. McCarthy said Wednesday.

Mr. Biden urged Republicans to release their budget proposal before he wants to re-engage on the debt ceiling.

Although the House Freedom Caucus as a whole represents the most conservative wing of the Republican Party, they wield enormous influence in the party, given the slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

And the group showed no sign of backing down on its demands Friday.

“Members of the House Freedom Caucus are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to voting on these proposals, and we’re ready to do so today,” Mr. Perry said. “America will not default on our debts unless President Biden resolves it.”

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