A number of declared and prospective Republican presidential candidates are voicing opposition to a debt ceiling deal that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) struck with President Biden this weekend ahead of a looming default deadline.
Biden and McCarthy overcame a longstanding stalemate over the deal this Saturday as the country races to avoid the June 5 cutoff, but the deal has already been criticized by a growing number of House Republicans.
The burgeoning 2024 GOP White House field added to those sentiments this week, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis saying on Monday that “our country will still be careening towards bankruptcy” if the deal passed. Other contenders like former Vice President Pence and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have also railed against the deal.
Notably, however, former President Trump has not yet weighed in.
Here’s a look at what these 2024 GOP contenders have said about the debt ceiling deal:
During an interview on “Fox & Friends,” the Florida governor, who announced his 2024 candidacy last week, slammed the deal.
“Prior to this deal … our country was careening towards bankruptcy. And after this deal, our country will still be careening towards bankruptcy,” DeSantis said.
“To say you can do 4 trillion [dollars] of increases in the next year-and-a-half, I mean, that’s a massive amount of spending. I think that we’ve gotten ourselves on a trajectory here — really since March of 2020, with some of the COVID spending, and totally reset the budget, and they’re sticking with that. And I think that that’s just going to be totally inadequate to get us in a better spot,” he added.
DeSantis’s remarks make him the highest-profile 2024 Republican contender to wade in on the deal. But one House Republican on Monday suggested the Florida governor was being hypocritical as someone who’s voted to raise the debt ceiling before.
“It’s said that you campaign in poetry, and you govern in prose. Man alive, are those comments proof of that,” Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) said in an interview on NewsNation.
“Ron DeSantis, he has voted for debt ceiling increases in the past when he’s in the House. I know those guys. They should have the flexibility to change their minds, but they should be honest with the voters that when they’ve been here in the past, they’ve raised the debt ceiling,” he added.
Haley also critiqued the deal, saying in a statement released on Tuesday: “The best way to fix Washington’s spending addiction is to elect people who have not been part of the problem.”
“Adding at least $4 trillion to America’s $31 trillion national debt over two years without substantially cutting spending is no way to run our country’s fiscal affairs. Business as usual won’t get the job done,” she added.
A press release from Haley’s campaign also used the current debt ceiling crisis to take a jab at DeSantis, pointing to the fact that the Florida governor had voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling when he served in Congress in 2018 while Trump later signed the legislation into law.
“As Congress considers once again raising the national debt limit without any major restraints on future spending, it’s worth remembering that just five years ago Congressman Ron DeSantis voted for a debt increase deal and President Donald Trump signed it into law,” the campaign press release said.
It’s the latest swipe at DeSantis from the Haley campaign; prior to his formal launch last week, Haley’s campaign rolled out an ad suggesting DeSantis and Trump were echoes of one another.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who launched his presidential bid last week, said on Wednesday during an event with Axios that he would be voting no on the debt ceiling plan struck between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as the default deadline looms ahead.
“The question I asked myself is ‘At the end of the negotiation, is it in our best interest as a nation to allow Joe Biden, someone we cannot trust on spending, to have an open checkbook, no limit on the credit card until the end of his term?'” Scott said, referring to an aspect of the plan that allows the debt ceiling to be raised through early 2025.
“My answer is ‘no.’ So the fact that the current deal allows for him to continue to spend however much he does with no limit is something that I can’t support,” he added.
Scott is the only 2024 GOP challenger in the field who will actually get the opportunity to vote on the plan. Though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he’s backing it, the bill faces an uphill battle in the House where a number of conservatives are vowing to vote against it.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has also criticized the plan.
Pence alleged in a statement on Tuesday that the deal between McCarthy and Biden “uses Washington smoke and mirror games to make small reforms while weakening our military at a time of increasing threats from foreign adversaries.”
“It’s time to be honest with the American people and get everybody to the table to restore fiscal integrity to our nation,” he continued. “By ignoring the drivers of our national debt and avoiding honest conversations with the American people, President Biden and the Washington establishment continue to pile the burden of debt onto the backs of our grandchildren, and the American people deserve better.”
The biotech entrepreneur also rallied against the deal in a statement on Tuesday, taking issue with the proposed reduction from the IRS budget.
“I would absolutely vote against the debt ceiling deal. Reducing the IRS budget from $80 billion to $78 billion doesn’t solve the essential problem of a corrupt administrative state – at the IRS or elsewhere,” Ramaswamy said in a statement. “We need to think on the timescales of history, not 2-year election cycles. We should stand for principles, not incrementalism or window-dressing.”
While the deal struck between Biden and McCarthy will eliminate $1.38 billion in IRS funding, a separate $20 billion that was allocated to the IRS through the Inflation Reduction Act will also be reallocated from the agency.
Updated: 1:53 p.m. ET