Indian American Reps. divided over debt ceiling deal

Among the five Indian American Reps three voted in favor of the bill while two opposed it.

To prevent America from a defaulting on its US$31.4 trillion debt the Republican-backed, Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, was passed by both the chambers of United States Congress. “No one got everything they wanted but the American people got what they needed,” President Joe Biden said of the legislation that he will sign into law on June 3, 2023. “We averted an economic crisis and an economic collapse,” he added.

The bill will restrict federal discretionary spending during the next fiscal year and the following year. It also includes provisions that rescind funds that were provided from the six relief bills passed between 2020-2022, terminate the suspension of federal student loan payments, expand work requirements for those dependent on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, among others.

Indian-American lawmakers were divided in their thoughts about the debt ceiling bill. The longest serving Indian American, Rep. Ami Bera, D-CA., voted yes for raising the debt ceiling. He maintained that the legislation was not perfect but will stop the country from defaulting on its debt, which could have been catastrophic for the economy and fellow countrymen.

“I remain committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address government spending and reduce our national deficit. We cannot continue to saddle future generations with mountains of debt,” Bera tweeted after the vote.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-CA., voted against the Debt Ceiling agreement. He was particularly against added restrictions for SNAP dependents, and the expedited approvals of all permits needed to complete the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline which has been opposed by climate conservation groups and locals residing in its path. Hours before the lawmakers voted for and against the bill, Khanna tweeted, “We're facing the greatest climate and affordability crisis in recent history and we're about to make things a lot worse for people struggling the most.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL., voted yes to raising the debt ceiling due to his belief that defaulting on debt would be an “economic disaster” . Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-MI, also voted in favor of the bill because he believed it would instate the world’s trust in America’s economy.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA., voted against raising the debt ceiling, due to her disapproval of the provisions included in the bill. “This bill protected the wealthiest billionaires at the expense of working families, and I refused to accept that,” she tweeted.

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