House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Sunday strongly defended the debt ceiling bill signed into law by President Joe Biden and slammed some of the criticisms on the legislation as being "not true."
"It's the first time that we're finally spending less than we spent the year before," the California Republican told Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures" host Maria Bartiromo. "This is the largest cut in American history. You know, if you look at the Congressional Budget Office, if you look at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, it shows that, that more than $2.1 trillion is going to be cut over the next 10 years."
Further, there are no new taxes or new government programs, said McCarthy, and "we actually got more than you thought in the process that we could get to this point."
He acknowledged that the bill "is not perfect, but it is a beginning of turning the ship."
Bartiromo told him that the bill has been criticized by opponents, though, who say that the final legislation did not have work requirements for Medicaid recipients, nor did it "rescind that $80 billion of IRS funding" earmarked in last year's Inflation Reduction Act to hire 87,000 agents.
"That's not true, Maria," McCarthy told her. "You're saying things that are not true."
The House's "Limit-Save-Grow" act that was passed before the negotiated debt ceiling bill, McCarthy said, aimed to take spending levels back to 2022, but the new bill took spending below that level.
"That gave Democrats a lot of problems," he said. "We wanted to repeal all the IRS agents. They've already put that money in there. We repealed the $1.4 billion they would spend on hiring new agents this year, so no new agents are being hired."
Further, he said, the only Democrats voting against the debt ceiling bill were progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as "we did get work requirements in welfare reform. Did we get it in everything? No. But we got it in welfare. That puts people back to work, the core of what we looked for."
And when it comes to the money for the IRS agents, "that was already in law," McCarthy said. "We do not have the Senate, we do not have the presidency, but we just stopped them from hiring any IRS agents and we also took another $20 billion going into the future. Now we only have the House so we need the Senate and the presidency. The next time we'll address this we have an opportunity to win the Senate and the presidency."
McCarthy also pointed out the importance of the House in keeping with the fundamental responsibility to pass 12 appropriations bills and cut 1% in spending across the board and rejected the argument that defense could face higher budget cuts.
"Everybody gets 1% across the board," said McCarthy. "So one thing I have found, is that if somebody wants to vote no, they can always think, well, what happens if something happens in the future? I'm thinking about today. If I took that approach, the president said he would never have even talked to me about raising the debt ceiling. Should I have just quit and let him raise a clean debt ceiling?"
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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