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Emerging debt ceiling deal is a dud

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The same arguments hold true for food assistance. As of now, people up to age 50 who don’t have dependents or disabilities already have to show they’re working to get the help. Republicans want to raise that to age 56. Public policy researchers recently studied the potential impact; they found it “would sever food assistance benefits for an estimated 275,000 low-income people between the ages of 50 and 55, including many with health conditions and who care for others.” That would add to food insecurity not just for the individuals but for their families, and it would also negate the economic benefits their communities get from their ability to buy food.

House Democrats are particularly unhappy about this potential part of the deal, and leadership has told the White House so. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Whip Katherine Clark, and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar called White House negotiators Thursday to inform them they could not count on as many as 100 Democratic votes for a deal if these kinds of concessions are included. “We’ve been exceedingly clear where we are depending on what’s in it,” a senior Democratic aide told Punchbowl.

Taking funding away from the IRS is another unnecessary concession that does little but reinforce bullshit Republican narratives. Democrats in Congress joined Biden to secure the new IRS funding in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, totaling $80 billion over the next 10 years, which was long overdue after decades of cuts to the IRS budget that left the agency struggling with ancient technology and overworked staff.

The Congressional Budget Office projected that new funding would raise about $203 billion over the next decade; discounting the $80 billion it costs, the Treasury would net $124 billion from this investment. And a lot of wealthy people who have been cheating on their taxes will have to finally cough up their fair share because there will finally be enough IRS auditors to go after them.

That part was enough to turn the Republicans inside out. They insist that this would mean armed IRS thugs would be breaking into every Republican home to steal their hard-earned money in politically motivated revenge. That’s the extent they’ll go to keep rich people from having to pay taxes. Decades’ worth of tax cuts from the Bush and Trump administrations weren’t enough: Republicans want to shield the rich from paying even that much. So why give them even this much of a win on that bullshit?

On top of all of this, defense spending gets increased and the Republicans would be able to prove the BS rhetoric that they’re supporting veterans—after they passed their bill that slashes veterans’ services. It’s like throwing them a political life preserver when they deserve an anchor.

There’s little upside to Biden dividing Democrats when McCarthy can barely hold his conference together. The Freedom Caucus is still raising hell, insisting that they will not vote for anything other than the draconian bill they passed in April. Biden should be forcing McCarthy to get the votes for any deal on his own, and not asking for Democrats to hold their noses and vote for something that could do harm.


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We speak with Anderson Clayton, the 25-year-old chair of North Carolina’s Democratic Party. Clayton has a big-picture plan for 2024, and explains the granular changes needed to get out the vote on college campuses and in the rural communities of the Tar Heel State.