House Republicans Finalizing Offer to Biden on Debt-Ceiling Deal

(Bloomberg) -- House Republicans are finalizing a formal list of spending cuts they’ll demand from President Joe Biden in exchange for their support for raising the US debt ceiling, Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington told reporters.

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Speaker Kevin McCarthy has made the “deal sheet” a priority so Republicans can make their first offer in the debt-ceiling negotiations, Arrington said. The GOP’s 10-year budget plan has taken a backseat and will be released later than the April 15 target date.

“Everything is on track to have something on paper, in writing, that the conference can move forward with,” Arrington said. “We are looking to tighten our belts.”

Republicans plan to to propose cutting $130 billion from domestic agency accounts next year and then capping that spending at 1% growth annually for a decade, the chairman said. The conservative House Freedom Caucus has endorsed such a cap. The GOP offer could also include strengthening work requirements for poverty programs like food stamps for able-bodied adults without children.

Arrington said he still aims to write a plan that balances the budget in 10 years, a herculean task that would require cutting either defense spending or entitlement spending if the Trump-era tax cuts are extended. Some Republicans have pushed for deeper cuts while others are reluctant to cut popular programs.

The debt ceiling proposal appears to be an area where Republicans are more likely to agree. It’s also the more urgent matter as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress that the US could face a payment default on its obligations as soon as June.

Biden, who met with McCarthy to discuss the debt ceiling on Feb. 1, has said he’s willing to talk about the US budget deficit with McCarthy and he is now awaiting the House GOP budget proposal. But Biden has been firm in his insistence that Congress raise the debt ceiling without condition.

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