McCarthy, Biden predict Congress will pass debt ceiling deal
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy predicted on Sunday that a majority of his fellow Republicans would support the deal to suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling that he negotiated at the weekend with President Joe Biden.
Hours later, the Democratic president said he was confident the legislation would pass both chambers of Congress to avoid a US government default. Asked if there were any sticking points, the president replied: "None."
Political science professor Sarah Binder, of George Washington University, told Reuters the deal to raise the US debt ceiling offers enough for both parties to likely win passage in both the House and the Senate.
"A deal Democrats could certainly live with", she said.
But McCarthy and Biden will be under pressure to get it signed into law before time runs out. The Treasury has projected the US will run out of funds to pay its bills by June 5th, which could bring an unprecedented default with dire implications for the US economy.
Members of the Republican hardline House Freedom Caucus said they would try to prevent the agreement from passing the House in a vote expected on Wednesday.
But McCarthy dismissed threats of opposition within his own party, saying "over 95%" of House Republicans were "overwhelmingly excited" about the deal.
To win the speaker's gavel, McCarthy agreed to enable any single House member to call for a vote to unseat him, potentially making him vulnerable to ouster by disgruntled Republicans. The speaker said he was "not at all" concerned about that possibility.
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said he expected Democratic support for the deal but declined in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" to estimate how many of his party members would vote for it.
Several credit-rating agencies have put the United States on review for a possible downgrade, which would push up borrowing costs and undercut its standing as the backbone of the global financial system.
During a brief meeting with reporters on Sunday evening following a phone talk with the speaker, Biden urged lawmakers to pass the budget deal he struck with McCarthy, saying he did not make too many concessions to end a debt limit crisis.
Biden told reporters at the White House that he believed McCarthy negotiated in good faith and had the votes to pass the agreement, which the president said protects his key policy priorities and is "good news" for the American people.