During a Tuesday press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Scott Perry (R-10), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), announced that his group will oppose the debt ceiling agreement reached between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“The Speaker has said on numerous occasions that the greatest threat to America is our debt,” said Perry. “We had to time to act. This deal fails completely. And that’s why these members and others will be absolutely opposed to this deal and we will do everything in our power to stop it.”
It is the latest wrinkle in the negotiations that are staring down a Monday deadline, after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the U.S. could run out of cash to pay its bills.
“We are not going to default we are taking in record revenues,” continued Perry. “There was no chance of ever defaulting, not paying on our debt, not paying Social Security, not paying Medicare, not paying veterans benefits. That was never going to happen. This is a scare tactic. What this bill does is lead to an eventual complete default of the United States. That’s what it does, and that’s why we’re opposed to it.”
The House Committee on Rules, responsible for deciding which measures are brought before the House of Representatives and the rules that govern their consideration, is slated to meet at 3 p.m. to hold a vote on the rule dictating debate over the measure, dubbed the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), a member of the HFC and the House Rules Committee, said that he will work in committee to nix the deal.
“If we can stop it there, I will stop it,” he said. “No Republicans in good conscience should support this and go back to the drawing board. Negotiate does not mean completely evaporate, completely dismissed.”
If Norman and fellow committee member Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) join all Democrats in voting against the rule, the GOP would still be able to advance the rule with one vote to spare. Dems typically oppose rules.
There are 13 members on the Rules Committee – nine Republicans and four Democrats. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-14) and Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-05) are the Pennsylvania representatives on the committee.
If Roy and Norman join all Democrats in voting against the rule — it is customary for Democrats to oppose rules — Republicans would still be able to advance the rule with one vote to spare. But all eyes would turn to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a conservative who would be the decisive vote.
Should the Rules Committee advance the measure, GOP leadership is targeting a floor vote in Wednesday.
Perry was also asked about a possible motion-to-vacate against Speaker McCarthy. “I’ve focused on defeating this bill, what happens post that and the agreements that we have, we will decide once we’ve determined the disposition of this bill and its finality.”