House Republicans Prepare for Attacks Over Debt Ceiling Vote
Several House Republicans who hail from districts that President Joe Biden won in 2020 are preparing for attacks over their vote to advance Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill, which Democrats argue slashes crucial government programs and threatens the economy.
The House voted earlier this week to advance a debt limit bill that would raise the debt ceiling over the next year either by $1.5 trillion or until March 31, 2024, whichever comes first. The Limit, Save, Grow Act seeks to cool inflation and limit government spending by reducing discretionary funds to pre-pandemic levels and capping budget increases by 1% each year, among other provisions.
GOP Seizes on Debt Ceiling Vote to Target Vulnerable Democrats in New Attack Ads
Democrats seized on the vote, seeking to weaponize the legislation against Republicans in battleground districts ahead of a crucial election cycle in 2024.
“We are not surprised that so-called Republican moderates, who talk a good game, but at the end of the day always, always, always vote with the extremists,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said on Friday. “They are going to have to answer for their hypocrisy.”
However, many Republicans have expressed confidence that the attacks won’t hurt their reelection chances. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most vulnerable Republicans heading into the 2024 cycle and what they’re saying about the debt limit bill.
- Nick LaLota, New York’s 1st Congressional District
- Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY), one of five Republicans who flipped key seats in New York to help the GOP win control of the House in 2022, came out swinging on the debt ceiling, hoping to use Democrats’ attacks in his favor.
- In a tweet on Thursday, Biden targeted the Republican members who voted in favor of the debt ceiling bill, accusing the lawmakers of cutting education spending. LaLota responded to those attacks, decrying the president for his use of “scare tactics.”
- “We need a President who will be honest about the nation’s debt crisis, not one who will distract us with lies and scare tactics,” LaLota said in a tweet. “Moreover, the President’s use of the WH’s official account for campaign purposes— to target Republicans from swing districts— is worthy of criticism.”
- David Schweikert, Arizona’s 1st Congressional District
- Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) also sought to flip the script on the debt ceiling vote, turning the blame to Biden for refusing to restart negotiations with McCarthy.
- “The Limit, Save, Grow Act is a starting point toward reining in reckless government spending,” he said in a tweet. “President Biden should come to the negotiating table with Speaker McCarthy to avoid threatening the fiscal health of our nation.”
- Schweikert also pointed to polling that shows a majority of voters in his district support cutting government spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling despite Democratic claims to the contrary.
- “They think they’re pushing us off a plank, [but Democrats] may be the ones about to fall into the ocean,” he told the Hill. “They may be behind the electoral curve.”
- Jen Kiggans, Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District
- Rep. Jen Kiggans, who flipped a key seat in Virginia during the 2022 cycle, eased concerns about the debt ceiling bill, noting the legislation was not a final vote — rather, it is merely being used as a tool to restart negotiations with Biden.
- “This week, the House passed a bill to responsibly raise our nation’s debt ceiling — but this is just the first step, not the final product,” Kiggans said. “Now it’s time for [Biden] to do his job and negotiate with Speaker McCarthy.”
- Kiggans pushed back on Democrats’ claims that the bill would slash spending for veterans and eliminate Social Security and Medicare benefits, which have emerged as key talking points over the debt limit bill.
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