Washington sweats over high-stakes vote to stave off default

Before a pivotal Wednesday night vote, congressional leaders were scrambling to gather support for a bipartisan agreement to extend the US debt ceiling and prevent the country from experiencing its first-ever default.

Just five days remain for Congress to approve a deal between Republicans and Democrats that would allow for increased borrowing while ensuring that the nation doesn’t default on its debt, which could throw the economy into a potentially disastrous tailspin.

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The “Fiscal Responsibility Act” needs a simple majority to pass the 435-member House and move to the Senate. It was negotiated over the weekend by Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden.

Yet a number of Republicans have already voiced their opposition, upset that the spending cutbacks suggested to go along with a suspension of the debt ceiling for two years fall far short of what was agreed upon in a package passed by the House last month.

Chip Roy, a prominent member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, referred to the agreement as a “turd sandwich” while McCarthy termed it “transformational.”

“Not one Republican should vote for this deal. It is a bad deal. No one sent us here to borrow an additional $4 trillion to get absolutely nothing in return,” Roy said at a Freedom Caucus news conference Tuesday.

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