Top Democrat James Clyburn defends debt limit deal

 May 30, 2023

Top Biden ally James Clyburn (Sc.) defended the president's debt limit deal, saying he felt obligated to support it after Biden's budget director gave her approval.

Clyburn told CNN's State of the Union that the deal, which has angered some progressives and conservatives alike, is a "very good compromise."

"I spoke throughout this process with the president and with Shalanda Young," Clyburn said, referring to Biden's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director.

"I’ve never met anyone in government more competent for her work or more compassionate for her cause, and I think that when I saw her giving a big thumb’s up on this deal, I felt that it was incumbent upon me to do what I can to help get it across the finish line.”

Biden ally defends debt deal

While Biden didn't get "100 percent" of what Democrats wanted, the deal is "pretty good," he said.

"We’re governing, and when you have two parties — as I’ve said before — 51% of the House is under Republican control, 51% of the Senate is under Democratic control. That means that we’ve got to find compromise. And I think that we found a very good compromise," he said.

Clyburn said the deal preserves many of Biden's priorities, an assessment shared by some disgruntled Republicans who have threatened to vote against it.

The deal does not include work requirements for Medicaid and leaves intact Biden's sweeping student loan plan, as well as most of the new funding Biden set aside for the IRS.

"We're doing things to protect student loan programs....we are protecting Medicaid. We are doing things that the Republicans said they wanted to see undone," Clyburn said.

A win for who?

Still, Democrats have complained about certain concessions like new work requirements for food stamps that raise the age from 49 to 54.

The bill includes exemptions for homeless people and veterans, which Clyburn called a "pretty good tradeoff."

Across the aisle, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Ca.) has called the debt limit agreement a win for conservatives, even as some Republicans balk.

The bill includes an end to the pause on student loan payments, and it limits non-defense spending in 2025 to a one percent increase.

At a press briefing Tuesday, Young touted the deal as a win for the "American people."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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