House GOP campaign arm frames debt ceiling debate as ‘successful 2024 road test’

The House Republicans’ campaign arm is pitching the debate over a debt ceiling bill that passed the House on Wednesday as a “successful 2024 road test” as the party looks to retain its majority.

House Republicans overcame a key hurdle by passing in a 314-117 vote a debt limit deal struck between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden, despite some opposition from conservatives and progressives alike. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

A memo released by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) on Thursday, which was first shared with The Hill, characterizes that debate as a win for the party.

“Recent public polling and changing perceptions among voters about President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy demonstrate the public overwhelmingly sides with Republicans on the debate over our nation’s spending and debt,” the NRCC memo said. “House Democrats uniformly dug in on a toxic position — that the country does not have a spending problem — handing Republicans a powerful political cudgel for the 2024 cycle.”

The memo pointed to polling from CNN, Fox News and other news outlets indicating a majority of Americans would allow the debt ceiling to be raised in conjunction with spending cuts to the federal budget.

“Hakeem Jeffries committed a major tactical blunder by forcing his vulnerable Members to go on the record for unchecked government spending,” the NRCC memo said, referring to the House minority leader, a New York Democrat. “This dead-on-arrival measure is opposed by broad majorities of Americans, including large numbers of Democratic voters.

“Politically, this represents a fresh opportunity to remind voters that Democrats spent trillions of dollars on wasteful projects with total Democratic control of Washington, spiking inflation and hurting their personal pocketbooks. Coupled with House Democrats’ unanimous vote against the Limit, Save, Grow Act — the ads write themselves,” it added.

House GOP leadership was able to breathe a sigh of relief Wednesday when it passed the McCarthy-Biden debt ceiling deal, despite opposition from some conservatives and progressives. Some Republicans took issue with the fact the bill didn’t include many of the priorities that were a part of their Limit, Save, Grow Act the lower chamber passed earlier this year.

Notably, several 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls criticized the debt ceiling bill, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), former Vice President Pence and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley — suggesting there’s lingering internal disagreement within the party over the deal itself.

Scott, the only 2024 challenger who will actually vote on the bill, voiced concerns the bill allows the debt ceiling to be raised through early 2025.

House Republican leadership, for their part, have messaged that the bill is a victory for the party.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act is a significant ‘Republican victory’ consisting of ‘historical reductions in spending,’ that will rein in government overreach, limit inflationary spending, and lift millions of Americans out of poverty. House Republicans successfully drove the public narrative around the debt ceiling negotiations between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy from start to finish,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said in a Wednesday memo.

Meanwhile, other Republicans have suggested that while they have issues with the bill itself, they were able to reconcile some of those differences enough to vote on it.

“It was politically easy for people like me to vote no on this because none of us ever want to raise the debt ceiling. I certainly don’t, especially on all this debt that I never voted to create. So it was actually harder for people like me to get in here and work hard to get this passed,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said after voting on the bill.

“We are actually cutting spending with this bill. And I think that’s something I can take home and say, look, the bill isn’t perfect. There’s a lot of things I don’t like it. But we did cut spending, we’re saving the American people money,” she said.

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