The U.S. House of Representatives passed a deal Wednesday night to divert a U.S. default on its debt; the bill now heads to the Senate for approval. However, the deal was not without controversy for lawmakers of both political parties.
“All of us have some things that we didn’t like about this bill,” said Rep. Sean Casten (D), who voted in favor of the bill, which passed the House 314-117.
The deal would suspend the U.S. debt limit until January 2025. The Congressional Budget Office said the deal would save $1.5 trillion over a decade. It would leave programs like Medicare and Social Security intact while also restarting student loan repayments and expanding work requirements for certain adults receiving SNAP food benefits.
“We never should have gotten to this place,” said Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D), who voted in favor of the bill. “I feel like I put on a soiled shirt out of a dirty clothes hamper just to have some clothing on.”
Rep. Brad Schneider (D) said Republicans extracted concessions at the risk of the U.S. defaulting on its debt, and that President Joe Biden did an admirable job given the circumstances to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid during negotiations.
All three of the Republican U.S. House members representing Illinois voted against the deal and declined to join “Chicago Tonight” for Thursday night’s conversation.
Lawmakers on the show also spoke about immigration policy and addressing the influx of migrants arriving to Chicago from Texas. Elected officials on the state, county and city levels have asked the federal government for more money to assist migrants.
Rep. Delia Ramirez (D), who voted against the debt deal, said she and a number of her colleagues have sent a letter to FEMA and the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that the city and the state get their fair share of resources.
Ramirez said she and other lawmakers are also asking Biden to waive a requirement that makes asylum seekers wait 150 days before applying for work authorization.