McCarthy-Biden Debt Ceiling Deal Leaves Political Extremes Upset

( – The negotiations to avert the first default in national history appear to have reached a milestone, with a tentative deal having been thrashed out between the Biden administration and Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Neither side is totally happy with the deal, but there are just enough positive aspects to the outcome to allow it to proceed to the next stage, which is a vote in the House.

McCarthy has pulled off something that many people have viewed as an impossible task – forcing the Biden administration to cut back on its federal non-defense spending or at least keep it at its current level throughout the next 12 months. Given that the Biden administration has been spending money like a drunken sailor over the past two years, that is no mean feat.

The ace in McCarthy’s hand was his willingness to let the US default on its debts if no deal was reached – an apocalyptic outcome that nobody wanted – and his offer of a two-year extension was good enough for the Biden administration to continue most of the spending that had already been planned on the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.

McCarthy’s team also managed to claw back an additional $20 billion that the Biden administration wanted to use to expand the IRS and to give it additional powers to chase ordinary Americans and deprive them of their hard-earned income, using deadly force if necessary. They also managed to pull back $30 billion in unspent pandemic relief funds but had to make some concessions on Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Predictably, the extremes on both sides of the House had something to complain about. Republicans complained that the cuts did not go far enough, while Democrats warned that job losses in health care and education would lead to more difficulties for working-class Americans. But in a high-stakes game of bluff, McCarthy refused to blink, and for that he is to be applauded.

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