OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A top Democrat in the House has poured cold water on the announcement from President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy that they had struck a deal on the debt ceiling.
Washington Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday where she said that she and her the Progressive Caucus, of which she is the leader, may not support the deal.
And with Republicans only having a five vote majority, and many from the Freedom Caucus already saying they will not support the deal, Speaker McCarthy will likely need some Democrat votes.
“I don’t know yet, Jake, because I haven’t seen the texts,” she said to anchor Jake Tapper who asked if she and her caucus would vote to pass the legislation. “You know I’m not a big fan of in-principle or frameworks. That’s always, you know, a problem if you can’t see the exact legislative texts.
“And we’re all trying to wade through spin right now. That’s certainly what you heard from my good colleague on the other side of the aisle, is a lot of spin. But I think it will come down to what the legislative text is,” the representative said.
“At the end of the day, I think the American people have to understand we’re at the brink of default, we don’t have a deal yet, we don’t know how many Republican votes can be produced, and it’s all because Republicans said that they wanted to cut the deficit,” she said.
“I know you hate it when I do this, but I’ll give you a yes or no question right now,” Tapper said.
“I may or may not answer you,” she quipped.
“That’s fair,” the anchor said. “But Democrats watching right now at the White House, your friend Hakeem Jeffries, others, do they still have to worry about the progressive caucus and whether or not your caucus will support –”
“Yes,” the caucus leader said matter-of-factly.
“Yes, they do,” Tapper said.
“Yes, they have to worry,” Jayapal said.
Meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy appeared on “Fox News Sunday” where he claimed victory and said there was not anything in the deal that benefited Democrats.
“Have you talked to Minority Leader(Rep. Hakeem) Jeffries? Sounds like he will bring Democrat votes to the table. What is your conversation like with him about getting this across the finish line?” anchor Shannon Bream said to the Speaker.
“I wanted Congress to work differently and treat Hakeem the way I wanted to be treated. We can disagree, I want him to know about everything,” the Speaker said. “Everything is not political. Every time there is agreement and negotiation between the president and Congress, both parties come together and vote for the bill. Both of them talk about it. I don’t work with Hakeem to say, I need this many votes, I think you will get a majority voting for the bill because it is a good bill. The president agreed. There will be a lot of Democrats that will vote for it.”
“Right now the Democrats are very upset. But one thing Hakeem told me, there’s nothing in the bill for them. There’s not one thing in the bill for Democrats,” he said.
One of the main things Republicans got in the deal was the expansion of work requirements for SNAP benefits, CNN reported.
The agreement calls for temporarily broadening of work requirements for certain adults receiving food stamps.
Currently, childless, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 are only able to get food stamps for three months out of every three years unless they are employed at least 20 hours a week or meet other criteria. The deal would raise the age to 54, according to the source. The GOP fact sheet says it would apply to those up to age 55.
However, the deal would also expand exemptions for veterans, people who are homeless and others in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as food stamps are formally known.