'Long way to go': Unpacking what's in the debt ceiling deal

Sean Coffey Image
Monday, May 29, 2023
Unpacking what's in the debt ceiling deal
The debt ceiling agreement announced by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was officially released Sunday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Sunday night, the debt ceiling agreement announced by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was officially released. Experts say the bill, which still needs to pass both chambers of Congress, represents a form of healthy compromise rarely seen in Washington today.

"I think this truly was a compromise," said political science professor David McLennan. "Neither side gave up too much in my estimation, but they both gave up something."

McLennan said in the end, neither side wanted to venture too near the June 5th deadline and risk the U.S. being unable to meet its financial obligations.

"It's almost hard to quantify something that's never happened before, but I think most economists would agree it's not something that we even want to mess with," said McLennan.

On Sunday morning, House Speaker McCarthy called the deal a step in the right direction and praised the President's negotiators.

"I think at the end of the day, people can look together to be able to pass this in the House and the Senate together, to sign it and send it to the President," McCarthy said.

The deal increases the debt ceiling for two more years while holding non-defense government spending virtually flat. Under the agreement, that spending would stay the same in fiscal year 2024 and increase by just 1% in 2025. The 99-page bill also would maintain health care funding for veterans and increases work requirements for adults receiving government assistance such as food stamps.

While there is vocal opposition in both the House and Senate -- including from North Carolina Congressman Dan Bishop -- McLennan says there's not enough opposition to block it.

"I don't think he has the votes to stop this in the House, nor do they have the votes in the Senate, but it could be a messy week," he said.

In Raleigh, reaction to the compromise was mostly positive.

"I mean at the end of the day we're all Americans, we're all humans," said Marissa Harris. "We want to take care of each other, so I'm down with it."

Another local said he supported the idea of holding down spending, but feels there's still too much infighting in Washington.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Matt Cole. "We have a long way to go from here."

The bill must pass Congress by June 5th to avoid hitting the debt ceiling deadline.

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