Progressives Slam House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’s Debt Ceiling Comments

Home Minority Chief Hakeem Jeffries mentioned Monday that he views discussions of a federal spending freeze — a real-term minimize when adjusted for inflation — as “inherently cheap,” a place prone to rankle progressive lawmakers who’ve warned in opposition to giving an inch to Republican hostage-takers.

“We’re keen to debate freezing spending at present ranges,” Jeffries (D-New York) told reporters following the newest assembly between Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and President Joe Biden on the debt ceiling — a sit-down that got here with the U.S. authorities simply 10 days away from probably defaulting on its obligations.

Jeffries, who has fought with progressives all through his political profession, acknowledged Monday that “many in our celebration” is perhaps uncomfortable with the concept of a spending freeze, which may minimize spending by more than $1 trillion over a decade.

“However President Biden acknowledges we’re in a divided authorities scenario,” mentioned Jeffries.

Lindsay Owens, an economist and the manager director of the Groundwork Collaborative, was among the many progressives who criticized the Home Democratic chief’s remarks.

“Jeez. Simply exhibiting everybody our playing cards,” wrote Owens, who has warned that “any time you let Republicans management the phrases of the controversy across the debt ceiling, you’re in hassle.”

“Beginning to suppose we have to ask the Nevada delegation to carry some poker gamers to the subsequent caucus lunch for a briefing,” Owens added Monday. “That is simply newbie hour.”

MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan additionally expressed dismay over Jeffries’ feedback:

After beforehand saying he wouldn’t be keen to connect any circumstances to a debt ceiling enhance — a stance that was backed by Home Democrats across the ideological spectrum — Biden has voiced openness to decreasing spending as a part of a compromise with Home Republicans, who’ve used the debt restrict as leverage to pursue huge cuts to federal applications akin to nutrition assistance and Medicaid.

Notably, Jeffries didn’t signal an April letter from Home Democrats supporting a clear debt restrict enhance “with none extraneous insurance policies hooked up.”

On Friday, White Home negotiators reportedly supplied to just accept a deal that might freeze 2024 army and non-military discretionary spending at 2023 ranges.

“That will quantity to a 5% minimize when adjusted for inflation — a step again from the Biden administration price range request in March, which proposed growing discretionary spending,” Axios noted.

However Republicans dismissed the White Home provide, pushing for a larger Pentagon budget and extra extreme cuts to non-military spending. GOP negotiators are presently pushing for round six years of federal spending caps, which might end in steep cuts to key agencies and programs and hinder the federal government’s ability to respond to an financial downturn.

Pointing to the White Home proposal, McCarthy told the press on Monday that “a freeze will not be much less, it’s spending the identical quantity” — ignoring the affect of inflation.

The Republican speaker additionally made clear that the GOP — which slashed taxes for the wealthy and firms in 2017, blowing a huge hole in the deficit — wouldn’t settle for any tax will increase as a part of a debt ceiling settlement.

GOP negotiators have rejected White Home presents to shut tax loopholes, together with the notorious carried-interest loophole exploited by rich private equity executives.

“I’ve been very clear with the president from day one. We’re not going to boost taxes,” McCarthy said Monday. “It’s a spending drawback.”

Progressive lawmakers continued to push again in opposition to Republican calls for for spending cuts on Monday because the White Home and McCarthy each described their newest assembly in positive terms, signaling {that a} deal is feasible earlier than the June 1 deadline.

“Reminder: When Home Republicans insist we ‘spend much less,’ they imply public housing, meals help, Medicaid, and habit help,” the Congressional Progressive Caucus tweeted Monday. “We can’t give in to this extortion.”

When requested about discuss of a spending freeze, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) responded bluntly: “Have a look at what’s being proposed when it comes to cuts. Don’t speak about spending within the summary.”

“Head Begin — 200,000 kids no slots, 100,000 youngsters with out childcare,” DeLauro, the highest Democrat on the Home Appropriations Committee, mentioned Monday. “Discuss to me about what has been urged.”

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