California Dems are angry over these three concessions as House approves debt limit deal

May 31, 2023

A compromise to prevent a default on the federal government’s debts has California Democrats riled over concessions made by the White House that they say could harm their constituents.

The U.S. government has — since the early 1900s — periodically reached a legal limit on how much money it can borrow, requiring Congress to increase that ceiling. Negotiations between Republicans and the White House went on for weeks and cut it close to the deadline, but the two parties announced they had reached an agreement Sunday evening. 


The legislation passed the House on Wednesday evening and will head to the Senate in the coming days. The vote split the Bay Area members of Congress. Four Bay Area Democrats opposed the bill — Reps. Mark DeSaulnier, Jared Huffman, Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee — while Reps. Anna Eshoo, John Garamendi, Zoe Lofgren, Kevin Mullin, Jimmy Panetta, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Swalwell and Mike Thompson supported the measure.


White House officials told reporters on the condition they not be named that the environmental changes were made “without curtailing the substantive scope” of the law requiring those assessments, the National Environmental Policy Act. 

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, disagrees. “There are some very substantive changes to NEPA that Republicans and the fossil fuel industry have been gunning for as long as I’ve been in Congress,” he told The Chronicle. He called the rollbacks “one of the major giveaways on this deal.”

California has stringent environmental protections, Huffman said, but its laws don’t address interstate projects. “In return for a temporary release of the hostage, we made permanent changes to a really important environmental law,” Huffman said.


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By:  Shira Stein
Source: San Francisco Chronicle