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House GOP narrowly passes bill to raise debt limit and cut spending; White House called it ‘ransom’

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — House Republicans on Wednesday passed a bill to increase the nation’s debt ceiling while cutting federal government spending — and while the legislation has no prospect of becoming law, GOP leaders hope it will help force negotiations with Democrats.

The proposal, known as the Limit, Save, Grow Act, passed 217-215, with four Republicans joining all Democrats in voting no.

If enacted, the bill would increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, reduce funding for federal agencies to 2022 fiscal year levels, limit growth in government spending to 1% per year and block various measures backed by the White House, such as federal student debt cancellation and new funding for the IRS.

“We cannot sit back and ignore the problem like the president has. I know he does it with the border, and I know he is now doing it with the fiscal policy of America,” McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday before the vote.

“We want to sit down and work together, and that is exactly what this bill does,” he said, noting that “we are sitting at $31 trillion of debt.”

The proposed debt limit increase would last through March 2024 — a shorter extension than preferred by President Joe Biden — in exchange for spending cuts and policy changes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the bill has no chance in his chamber and the president has vowed to veto it. Democrats have repeatedly insisted the debt ceiling should be raised separate from any compromise on government spending and policy.

“Congress is going to need to raise the debt limit without — without — conditions and it’s just that simple,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in January. She recently labeled the House bill a “ransom note.”

In remarks at a news conference on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the House GOP bill couldn’t clear the Senate but said that McCarthy and Biden must come to some compromise. “We must never default, and the agreement needs to be reached between the speaker and the president,” he said.

Citing past debt ceiling negotiations that involved Biden during the Obama administration, McConnell said Biden “knows that sometimes in divided government, you don’t get things exactly the way you want them.”

On Wednesday afternoon, before the House voted, Biden was asked a shouted question about negotiating on the debt ceiling as he left a press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is visiting Washington.

“They haven’t figured out the debt limit yet,” Biden said, somewhat sarcastically.

When a reporter asked if he would meet with McCarthy, the president said yes — but made it clear, once again, that he views increasing the debt ceiling as “not negotiable.”

“I’m happy to meet with McCarthy, but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended,” he said.

ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky and Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please return for updates.

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