Jax congressman calls the debt ceiling deal a victory

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville is convinced the agreement on the debt ceiling was a win for Republicans.

Rutherford told Eye on Jacksonville that Democrats always have been the “masters at incrementalism.”

They get what they can a little at a time and they do it over and over, the veteran Republican said.

“Our party always want to throw a hail-Mary pass on every play.”

Speaking of the “agreement in principle” made between Congress and the president, Rutherford said, “This is a big play. Maybe not a hail Mary but it is a 50-yarder.”

“We got a couple of firsts”, he said.

One is that year over year non-defense spending will roll back while still funding the veteran’s administration medical programs.

Another is a curb on rule-making by agencies, which increases spending. Under the agreement, Rutherford said, if agencies write a rule they have to come up with a way to pay for the cost.

Also, in two places the president had taken a step back in his programs.

One is by eliminating the hiring of 80,000 new agents for the IRS until 2024 and then Congress will negotiate the request.

Another place is student loan repayment. Rutherford said those with loans will start payback, which is $5 billion a month. Also, there is language that precludes the president from waiving the payments or delaying them is in the deal, Rutherford said.

“These were important to president and now he is backing off them,” Rutherford said.

Democrats also have been talking about a lot of tax increases. There are none under the agreement. Spending increases are limited to 1 percent for the next six years.

Rutherford said the agreement also partially restores the welfare-to-work program from the 1990s. “We will get a lot of people out of poverty, and paying into the treasury,” he said.

The agreement also pulls back unspent money from the Covid relief program, which Rutherford said will help stop high inflation along with the other measures.

“I don’t know how you could count it anything but a win,” he said.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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