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Republicans win on the debt ceiling: Here’s why House GOP should support deal

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The agreement reached Saturday night between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden is an historic first step toward shifting government back toward common sense and conservatism.  

It is a step toward creating a smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, economic growth, prosperity, and more take home pay. All of this will also strengthen Social Security and Medicare.

I emphasize it’s a first step because that is what I lived through in 1995 in our first year as a Republican House majority (the first in 40 years). Step by step, we got budget changes, moved from welfare to work, cut taxes, and reduced bureaucratic regulatory overkill. We launched a generation of prosperity built upon the foundations that President Ronald Reagan created in the 1980s.

The Contract with America Republicans did not leap to four consecutive balanced budgets (the only time in our lifetime). They calmly and methodically took a series of steps that moved the government back toward conservatism. (Remember, President Bill Clinton announced at the 1996 State of the Union that “the era of big government is over.” This infuriated his allies on the left.)


I outline how we shifted government from the left to the right and achieved welfare reform and four balanced budgets in my new book “March to the Majority.” This debt ceiling agreement is precisely in the tradition of how we operated to profoundly change Washington.

When you hear complaints from some on the right, remember they are arguing from a mythical belief. Somehow, they think defeating this agreement would improve things. They could hardly be more wrong.

By passing the original debt ceiling bill, House Republicans set the stage for a profound shift in the center of gravity in Washington. Suddenly, for the first time in decades, the House Republicans were negotiating with the Democrat president. The Republicans in the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, were supporting McCarthy, R-Calif.

Suddenly, President Biden’s refusal to negotiate collapsed. Changes which the Democrats thought could never be made were being made. This was exactly the pattern we had in 1995 as we began to assert issue dominance.

Consider what this new debt ceiling agreement, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, accomplishes for conservatism:

  1. It cuts spending year-over-year, including a rollback of nondefense discretionary spending to FY22 levels – while fully funding the Veterans Administration’s medical programs.
  2. It limits topline federal spending to 1% annual growth for the next six years – a huge cut from the Biden budget proposal.
  3. It will help lift millions out of poverty by enacting work requirements for food stamps and welfare benefits. The 1996 welfare reform bill made virtually the same changes. This will mean more Americans will be working and paying taxes, and fewer Americans will depend on the government. This has big, long-term government and human benefits.
  4. It claws back tens of billions in unspent COVID-19 funds, including $400 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Global Health Fund” that would have sent taxpayer money to China.
  5. Billions more will be cut other programs, making this the largest total rescissions package in history.
  6. The deal puts in place the first-ever statutory administrative pay-as-you-go rule to hold President Biden accountable for the full cost of executive rules and regulations. This should save taxpayers trillions of dollars.
  7. It cuts red tape and streamlines important infrastructure and energy projects – and cuts costs with the first significant reform to environmental policy since 1982.
  8. It slashes funding for Biden’s new IRS agents and eliminates the total fiscal year 2023 staffing funding request for new agents.
  9. It restarts student loan repayments and requires borrowers to be responsible for paying off their student loan debts, saving taxpayers an estimated $5 billion per month
  10. It has a bold requirement to “Make Congress Work Again” by compelling a functioning appropriations process and imposing a temporary 99% continuing resolution level cap until all 12 appropriations bills are passed and become law.
  11. It protects senior citizens, veterans and our national security by fully funding critical veterans’ programs and defense priorities, while preserving Social Security and Medicare.
  12. It blocks Democrat demands for new taxes and reject all $5 trillion of Biden’s proposed tax increases.

Again, this agreement is a powerful first step.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is joined by fellow Republican lawmakers at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 24, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

It will be followed in the near future by a second step when Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, unveils a 10-year plan for a balanced budget.

Then the stage will be set for a series of appropriations fights this fall which will be shaped by the various investigations into corruption, criminal behavior and incompetence.


I learned a lot working with President Reagan. He always said if you can get a 70% or 80% deal, you take it and come back for more.

President Biden

President Biden meets with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the Oval Office of the White House on May 22, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Every House Republican now faces a simple choice: Help take the first step and move on to even bigger steps – or fight about it and hand the initiative over to President Biden and the Democrats.

The choice is simple. They can support a more conservative future – or prove Republicans can’t govern even when they are winning.


The lessons of President Reagan and the Contract with America are clear.

They should all vote “yes,” and prove the House Republicans are now leading the future of America.


For more commentary from Newt Gingrich, visit Gingrich360.com.

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