The Good, Bad, & the Ugly of the Debt Ceiling Deal

Ted Millar
4 min readMay 30
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

As many prognosticated, the republicans’ reckless game of chicken over the debt ceiling failed.

President Biden didn’t even have to invoke the 14th Amendment, which unambiguously states:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

Naturally, as with every negotiation, there were some compromises, some good, others not.

Some media outlets are hailing “the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023” a rousing success for Biden and the Democrats.

Others, though, are zeroing on members of the Democratic caucus feeling like they just handed republicans the keys to White House in 2024.

As Raw Story reported:

The deal allows both sides to claim a victory of sorts. Biden called it a “compromise” while Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy described it as “worthy of the American people.”

The good.

The bill agrees to a two-year debt ceiling increase of $31.4 trillion, eliminating the need to repeat this whole unnecessary charade before the presidential election.

Republicans get a federal spending curb, but not the magnitude they wanted. Specifically, it leaves non-defense spending flat for the 2024 fiscal year, but increases military spending three percent, and limits the raise in 2025 to one percent. The White House gets what it wants in increasing military and veteran spending to keep up with inflation.

Congress will re-claim billions in unspent COVID relief funds.

Social Security, Medicare, and the president’s student-debt relief program remain intact, as do the climate and clean energy provisions included in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

President Biden announced:

This is a deal that’s good news, I believe you’ll see, for the American people. The agreement prevents the worst possible crisis: a default for the first time in our nation’s history — an economic recession, retirement accounts devastated, millions of jobs lost. It also protects key…

Ted Millar

Ted Millar is a teacher, poet, and political writer for The Left Place blog on Substack: Twitter: @tedmillar