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The White House's secret message to Democrats suggests who actually won the debt ceiling negotiation

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The White House is circulating a private message to Democrats: President Joe Biden actually won debt ceiling negotiations by keeping most Republican requests out of the agreement.

White House officials are selling the agreement to Democrats as one in which Biden successfully staved off the "extreme demands" of Republicans and one in which Democrats can continue advancing their policy goals, Politico reported.

In fact, the White House is celebrating that major social safety spending programs — Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare — and Biden's legislative achievements, like the Inflation Reduction Act (which doesn't actually reduce inflation) and the CHIPS act, among others, are "all being preserved and funded."

More from Politico:

White House officials argue the spending figures ultimately favor Democrats, even if [House Speaker Kevin] McCarthy gets to take a victory lap talking about spending cuts. The permitting reforms advance their climate agenda.

That's right. According to Politico, the agreement essentially allows McCarthy to declare victory in public. But the real winners are Democrats.

The reporting aligns with what Biden said after the deal was announced. Asked what he says to his allies that fear he conceded too much ground to Republicans, Biden responded, "They'll find I didn't."

So what did Republicans achieve?

If the White House believes Democrats ultimately won negotiations, what concessions did House Speaker Kevin McCarthy earn from Democrats?

Republicans agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a limit on government spending through January 2025 while negotiating work requirements for SNAP and TANF. The agreement also claws back some of the money earmarked last year for IRS expansions, permits some increases in defense spending, and ends the pause on student loan payments.

Political spin from the White House is not unexpected. But criticism from conservative Republicans gives credence to messaging from the Biden camp.

What happens next?

The House will act first. If and when it passes — despite holdouts on both sides — the bill will then go to the Senate.

The agreement will likely take several days to pass through the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has told members to expect the possibility of weekend votes. Once approved there, it will go to Biden's desk for his signature.

The entire process will likely be carried out before the June 5 deadline.

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