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Biden Expresses Confidence in Debt Deal

FILE: President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, May 28, 2023. Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a final agreement Sunday on a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling. It now has been be approved by Congress.

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden says he “feels good” about the debt ceiling and budget deal negotiated with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The White House and congressional leaders are working quickly in time to lift the nation’s borrowing limit and prevent a U.S. default.

Biden spent part of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday working the phones, calling lawmakers in both parties, as the president does his part to deliver the votes.

“I feel very good about it," Biden told reporters Monday as he left Washington for his home in Delaware.

“I’ve spoken to a number of the members,” he said, among them Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a past partner in big bipartisan deals who largely sat this one out.

"I spoke to a whole bunch of people, and it feels good,” Biden said.

To those progressive Democrats raising concerns about the package, the president had a simple message: “Talk to me.”

A key test will come Tuesday afternoon when the House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider the package and vote on sending it to the full House for a vote expected Wednesday.

A number of hard right conservatives are criticizing the deal as falling short of the deep spending cuts they wanted, while liberals decry policy changes such as new work requirements for older Americans in the food aid program.

As lawmakers size up the 99-page bill, few are expected to be fully satisfied with the final product. But Biden, a Democrat, and McCarthy, a Republican, are counting on pulling majority support from the political center, a rarity in divided Washington, to join in voting to prevent a catastrophic federal default.

Overall, the package is a tradeoff that would impose some spending reductions for the next two years along with a suspension of the debt limit into January 2025, pushing the volatile political issue past the next presidential election.

Raising the debt limit, now $31 trillion, would allow Treasury to continue borrowing to pay the nation’s already incurred bills.