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Biden’s Art of the Deal
It burned Democrats to see the Biden White House standing back to let Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy set a false narrative as the “winner” of the debt ceiling deal. Once again, McCarthy and his Republican House caucus tried to hold the country hostage, something that again they only do under a Democratic president, thereby revealing the real motives to be political and not fiscal.
But when dealing with a party that sells itself as "Alpha males" that tells its base that bike-riding Joe Biden is senile so they should really support golf cart-rider Donald Trump, the only option for a very smart negotiator is to let them take the public win. And that is what President Biden has done.
Biden knows better than to brag
President Biden was asked before his Marine One departure on Memorial Day about the deal and he responded, "One of the things that I hear some of you guys saying is, 'Why doesn’t Biden say what a good deal it is?' Why would Biden say what a good deal it is before the vote? You think that’s going to help me get it passed? No. That's why you guys don’t bargain very well."
Biden was asked who got the better deal, which he refused to answer saying instead, "(D)o you think it’s going to help me get it passed? Come on."
Biden separated debt ceiling from budget negotiatons (sort of)
We learned on background from White House officials how Biden approached this and what he got. As Jason Easley has been explaining, Biden separated the raising the debt ceiling part from a negotiation on the budget with Republican leadership. So he did have this negotiation on the budget, which the White House officials pointed out is like they do as part of the appropriations process every year, and it's also what happened in 2015, 2018, and the 2019 budget deals that also carried a debt limit increase.
However, there’s still this conflation with the debt ceiling being raised in the public’s mind, which is not great for the country and only allows Republicans to keep doing this hostage taking.
I was wrong
Frankly, this deal looked like nonsense at first, and I was one of the people criticizing it. But it turned out, when the legislative text was unveiled and after White House officials broke down the process on background, that the White House was mostly correct.
default taken off the table, so sorry Republicans
Biden managed to wrangle a two-year appropriations agreement via what appears to be a process of moving money around to protect "the historic economic gains we've made, really allowing one of the strongest recoveries on record to continue by taking the threat of default off the table into 2025,” that continues to support scientific research, Meals on Wheels, to education and more. So, key Democratic priorities are mostly protected.
It includes a suspension through January 1st, 2025, at which time the Secretary of the Treasury can employ extraordinary measures if needed.
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no more election year games
White House officials said they think taking the threat of default off the table into 2025 is “significant upside for the economy” and a “significant accomplishment.” It is definitely a significant accomplishment both for the country and for Democrats heading in to an election year. SIGNIFICANT.
hold on, Biden got what?
And here’s something COMPLETELY bonkers that Biden got in terms of the administrative PAYGO part of the deal, which provides very broad waiver authority for the Office of Management and Budget director and protections against judicial review (hello, corrupt SCOTUS) that SUNSETS in two years. You know, when there might be a new president.
no shutdown even if Republicans don’t do their jobs
They incentivized the passage of appropriation bills with a Continuing Resolution funding enforcement mechanism to prevent a government shutdown, so if at the end of the year, the 12 bills are not passed, then the non-defense and defense levels go to just slightly below the 2023 level. The incentive there is the bipartisan protection of defense spending (even when it’s wasteful) to get bills passed. The government can’t shut down even if they don’t manage to do their jobs of passing the appropriation bills.
Oddly enough, officials say the agreed-upon levels reflect what the administration had already successfully negotiated at the end of last calendar year, with two years already of bipartisan appropriations increases that have taken non-defense spending up over this two-year period by about 16 percent.
The 16% is an on paper increase, not to be confused with real new money of around 4-5% appropriated increase from Congress over the last two years. OK, so it’s flat from there. This is a part that Democrats have criticized, because it means only 1% increase in 2025. It keeps non-defense spending roughly flat with the 2023 levels in 2024, when you factor in agreed-upon appropriations adjustments. In 2025, it increases the non-defense spending levels and the defense spending levels by 1 percent.
Some of the adjustments include repurposing obligated emergency COVID relief and some of the mandatory IRS funding, as well as other adjustments.
IRS effective cuts, but no change to intention to chase down tax cheats
That IRS money the Republicans so wanted taken out? A full $20 billion of the $80 billion over ten years Republicans wanted to cut is ultimately being spent in other non-defense areas; $20 billion over two years is being moved to other priorities.
That money was meant to fund the IRS for ten years, and officials say they don’t think it will impact the direction they wanted of going after wealthier tax cheats.
The IRS also has the ability shift spending over that ten year period. Maybe kicking the can down the road while still doing President Biden’s wishes now is a decent summation of this IRS battle.
McCarthy’s promise to repeal non-existent 87,000 agents
But remember, Kevin McCarthy promised to repeal “87,000 IRS agents” on their first day. Of course, there weren’t going to be 87,000 IRS agents, so it was always a promise built on a lie, which is hard to deliver on.
About that – the 87,000 new agents claim came from a Treasury Department compliance report, but tax experts have broken it down to say that only a portion of those would be new auditors and indeed many would be replacement workers to maintain its current agent staffing levels, a which are down by 10% compared to ten years ago.
Democrats added this point: “According to a recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, due to a lack of resources, the IRS failed to audit more than 897,000 wealthy individuals who skipped out on filing tax returns over a three‑year period – and these individuals owed nearly $46 billion in taxes.”
Veterans and SNAP
It fully funds veterans’ medical care, including the mandatory funding from the PACT Act’s Toxic Exposure Fund at the levels that were in President Biden’s 2024 budget and includes funding at Biden’s budget level for the Defense Department.
While they did agree to some Republican changes to SNAP with a phase in of SNAP work requirements to people up to age 54, when it’s parsed out it seems like it’s actually not impactful. It’s also temporary and sunsets in 2030 at President Biden’s insistence.
They expect that the number of people subject to SNAP work requirements will stay roughly the same under this agreement, even when the age change is fully phased in.
The White House official explained that Biden insisted on changes that they say will actually reduce the number of people subject to SNAP work requirements, with exemptions for people who are homeless and veterans, as well as foster youth. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge pointed out that the definition of homeless in the existing SNAP statute includes housing instability, not just people who are unhoused. If this is true, hats off to President Biden. That’s some good negotiating.
protects Biden’s legislative victories
It protects Biden's historic legislative victories, from the infrastructure law to the CHIPS and Science Act, the key climate and prescription drug components of the Inflation Reduction Act, and it fought off parts of what they called the extreme demands in the Republicans’ “Limit, Save, and Grow Act.”
Try not to laugh at the party that did a lot to create this deficit trying to present itself as fiscally responsible by hostage taking.
House Republicans, for example, wanted to roll back Biden’s climate law, by cutting tens of billions of dollars for clean energy in disadvantaged communities, cleanup efforts related to oil and gas pollutants – and none of that is in this agreement. President Biden saved what they called the “substantive environmental safeguards” of laws like the Clean Water Act and more.
still shouldn’t have happened
So yes, this deal never should have happened and it’s not perfect. Democrats are right to be angry about it in those senses. But it’s also full of surprisingly solid protections for the country in terms of protecting it from the politicizing impulses of the Mad Hatter House Republicans, who have shown once again on Tuesday that the entire point of this venture was to crash the economy to help Trump win his election.
Republicans wonder how they can win elections if they can’t hold the economy hostage
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) complained about the budget deal raising the debt limit for two years, “And what does the device of raising it for two years do? It removes the issue from the national conversation during the presidential election to come. How could you more successfully kneecap any Republican presidential hopeful than by taking the issue out of his or her hands?”
Indeed. If they can’t cheat to make Biden look bad, how will Trump win?
The deal is not passed yet, but even so, Republicans have caught wind to being taken by McCarthy and yet they haven’t summoned the courage to call for a Motion to Vacate. Instead, they’re whining on Twitter about being “sold out” and crying about losing to a man they say can’t find his own pants.
So Republicans think they lost this deal to a man who can’t find his own pants, but they’re selling this deal as a win for Republicans.
a win for the country. thanks, Biden
In the details, this deal – while completely unnecessary because it shouldn’t have happened this way – is actually a rather big win for Biden, Democrats, and most importantly, the country. Naturally, Republicans are enraged.
In 2020, there were signs and bumper stickers reading “Any functioning adult” in reaction to four years of brazen ineptitude and graft under Trump. But America got lucky and got more than just a functioning adult in Joe Biden. Like him or not, he is not the cartoon figure of a doddering old man that Republicans so desperately try to paint him as.
Biden’s mastery of art of the deal
Donald Trump has branded himself as the king of the Art of the Deal, but when it comes to presidents, Joe Biden has exemplified true mastery of the Art of the Deal.
Top Stories From PoliticusUSA:
Tara Reade falsely accused Joe Biden of sexual assault during the 2020 presidential campaign and now she has announced that she is defecting to Russia.
Twice on Tuesday, Speaker Kevin McCarty discussed the debt limit bill in a way that sounded like he is trying to force children to get jobs.
The House Freedom Caucus held a press conference on Tuesday where they complained that the debt limit deal will prevent them from crashing the economy for Trump.
Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran has provided evidence that he wasn't allowed to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago office for classified docs.
Republican Representative Nancy Mace began her Tuesday morning post debt ceiling "deal" bemoaning the fact that Republicans had been "outsmarted" by President Biden, whom she denounced as someone who couldn't find his own pants.
Republican Cowards Complain About Getting Owned By Biden In Debt Limit Deal But Won’t Bring Motion To Vacate
House Republicans are realizing that Kevin McCarthy got owned by Biden on the debt limit deal, but they won't bring a motion to vacate to dump McCarthy.