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Speaker Kevin McCarthy lauds Biden-approved debt ceiling deal; Freedom Caucus Republicans not on board

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Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) discussed details on the debt ceiling agreement in an exclusive interview on Fox News Sunday.

"We're going to spend less. We're not going to waste taxpayer money and send it to China. We're not going to pay people to stay home ... We're going to cut red tape so we can build things in America again. And we're not going to reward people in Washington that don't do the job they're supposed to do," McCarthy said, summarizing pillars of the debt ceiling deal President Biden urged Congress to pass.

"This is really a step in the right direction ... We let government grow, but at a slower rate," McCarthy said, adding that bill places a statutory cap on spending at 1% per year for the next six years.

President Biden characterized the bill as "an important step forward that reduces spending while protecting critical programs for working people and growing the economy for everyone."

Biden urged the House and Senate to "pass the agreement right away," also outlining the "catastrophic" consequences of failing to reach a deal.

President Biden and Speaker McCarthy separately announced they had reached an agreement to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling "in principle" Saturday evening, as TheBlaze reported.

"This is the largest rescission in American history," McCarthy said, highlighting $400 million taxpayer dollars that had gone to China through the Centers for Disease Control's "Global Health Fund."

"We had a president that spent another $1.5 trillion around Congress. That can no longer happen. [President Biden's] got to cut in order to go forward," McCarthy said.

"This is worthy of the American people," McCarthy also said, adding that he wants the citizens to read and understand the roughly 150-page piece of legislation. Similar bills, he said, have exceeded 1,000 pages.

Expanded work requirements for programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, at one point a "red line" for Democrats, McCarthy said, also appear in the bill.

Benefits for those programs will be expanded for veterans and homeless people, but sunset after seven years, McCarthy explained. He also clarified that the work requirements apply to "able-bodied people with no dependents."

"When you do that, it puts more people to work ... at the end of the day, that this puts our economy [in a] stronger [position], less dependent on China," McCarthy said, also criticizing Democrats' initiatives that have discouraged working.

Regulatory reforms are also part of the package, McCarthy said. One example he provided involved streamlining the process of getting approval for new roads or energy initiatives. The debt ceiling deal's regulatory reforms would cut the time frame for approval in some situations from seven years to one.

McCarthy said the pause on student loan repayments would lift within 60 days if the deal is signed. The move would bring $5 billion a month back into the government's coffers, he also said.

McCarthy described legislators on the other side of the aisle as "upset" about the deal "because there's not one thing in the bill for Democrats."

"It's a new day, it's a new Congress, and it's a new Republican majority," McCarthy said.

Some Republicans, particularly those in the Freedom Caucus, are balking at the deal. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) urged legislators to "hold the line," emphasizing that the deal increases debt by approximately $4 trillion.

"We could negotiate a 'deal' like this with a Democrat House majority. This would essentially be what they wanted," Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) tweeted.

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