The MAGA-infused House Freedom Caucus on Thursday demanded that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) make Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen “show her math” on how she arrived at June 1 as the earliest date of a potential default.
“We urge you to lead Republicans in deflating the manufactured crisis of the June 1, 2023 ‘X-date,’ on which the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has arbitrarily declared — without supporting documentation or data — to be the date of a debt ceiling breach,” Freedom Caucus members wrote in a letter to McCarthy. “We should demand publicly and in your negotiations that the Treasury immediately furnish a complete justification of the June 1 projection…”
The demand came as a part of a three point list right-wingers tweeted Thursday afternoon, as reports circulated of a possible agreement between White House negotiators and McCarthy taking shape. As they laid out their demands, they also threatened to not vote with the rest of the Republican caucus on a debt limit agreement unless they get what they want.
“The power of an undivided Republican Party guided by conservative principles cannot be overstated. As you navigate the debt limit debate, you are the steward of this unity and will determine whether it continues to strengthen and places a historic stamp on this Congress or evaporates,” the letter read. “We firmly believe the best means to preserve Republican unity is to deploy it and we urge three specific actions.”
The thirty-five right-wing Republicans who signed the letter also asked McCarthy to add “additional provisions” to the debt limit bill the Republicans passed in the House last month and to make cuts to COVID and IRS funds to pass a short-term agreement to extend the debt ceiling through June.
“#HoldTheLine on debt ceiling to preserve GOP unity,” they wrote as they publicly released the letter they sent to McCarthy.
The two-page letter comes as certain details about the talks between debt deal negotiators appointed by President Joe Biden and McCarthy have been shared with House members — including some in the MAGA caucus.
House Democrats have also balked at reports about the shape a deal may take, objecting, in particular, to moves to strengthen work requirements. Those on the right declare such proposals to be a key part of the ransom for their debt-ceiling hostage.
The negotiations have continued over the past week without the two sides reaching a deal. Yellen and other officials have reiterated that they believe the country is just days from being unable to pay its bills.