Congressman Mike Johnson expects debt ceiling deal is close

Optimistic a deal could be reached by middle of next week
Congressman Mike Johnson remains optimistic that a debt ceiling deal could be reached by the middle of next week.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 3:46 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KALB) - Debt ceiling negotiations continue just under two weeks out from what the U.S. Department of Treasury expects to be the deadline to steer clear of a default on the nation’s obligations.

The Biden Administration and House leadership have been entrenched in spending talks for the past few weeks, and while they are optimistic about reaching a deal soon, that will not happen before Memorial Day weekend.

Lawmakers had hoped for a framework of an agreement by Thursday, but since that has not happened, House lawmakers went home to their districts where many had scheduled Memorial Day plans. They are on a 24-hour notice in case a deal is reached, so they can return back to the Capitol.

Congressman Mike Johnson (Louisiana 4th Congressional District) said lawmakers are hopeful a deal will be reached by the middle of next week, as the Treasury Department’s June 1 deadline is putting pressure on an agreement coming together.

Johnson alleged the conflict is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats but actually a battle of dueling philosophies, specifically how big government should be.

”Republicans are very concerned with the trajectory of our fiscal House. You know, we have almost a $31.8 trillion federal debt, and we believe very strongly that we cannot continue on this spending binge that Congress has been on for the last couple of decades, frankly,” said Johnson. “And so we have to be able to limit that if we want to save the economy. So, that’s what our proposal does. It cuts some spending, it limits the growth of government, and it saves taxpayers money.”

Republicans want to see cuts happen with investments in student loan debt forgiveness and renewable energy, as well as taking back unused COVID-19 funds.

The cuts to investments in renewable energy would be to some federal tax credits, which Louisiana has relied on in new renewable energy projects for energy companies and industries. Some are looking to benefit off the federal 45Q tax credits to build and restructure facilities, like Cleco’s Brame Energy Center in Boyce.

“By limiting some of the Green New Deal incentives that were put into law in previous pieces of legislation, we’re not going to harm companies back home, we’re going to empower them. And obviously, the devil will be in the details, we’ll see what the final details are of the legislation,” said Johnson, when asked what the impact could be on those projects if tax credits were repealed. “But one of the negotiators in the room is a Louisianan, Garret Graves, who is one of the top negotiators for House Republicans. And of course, we have the interest of Louisiana top of mind all the time. So, the interest of Louisiana, what’s good for us is good for the country at large, and that’s what’s gonna drive the agenda.”

Graves, who helped House Speaker Kevin McCarthy garner the votes for election to the leadership position, is one of four negotiators handpicked to reach a deal ahead of the June 1 deadline.

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