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Negotiators Try to Finish Debt Ceiling Deal as Conservatives Revolt

The emerging agreement is already coming under fire from the right

Conservative lawmakers have begun mounting a campaign against the emerging deal on the debt ceiling between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as objections from the right threaten to undermine an agreement even before its contents are publicly released.

On Thursday and Friday, in response to reports about the details of the agreement, leading conservative lawmakers and budget experts raised strong objections, arguing McCarthy had failed to extract sufficient concessions from the Biden administration in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. McCarthy pushed back in remarks to reporters on Friday, saying the criticisms were being leveled by people unaware of the substance of the deal.

With days left before the government could face a calamitous default, negotiators are closing in on an agreement that would raise the debt ceiling by two years — a key priority of the Biden administration — while also essentially freezing government spending on domestic programs and slightly increasing funding for the military and veterans affairs, three people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to reflect private deliberations. Although the deal is expected to include key GOP priorities, such as partially clawing back new funding for the Internal Revenue Service, a growing chorus of conservatives has balked at how little the deal appears to cut government spending overall — especially because it would also give up their party’s leverage on the debt ceiling until after the 2024 presidential election.

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