LINCOLNTON, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Lawmakers are racing to pass the debt limit deal through both chambers less than a week before the final deadline.
A North Carolina Congressman is instrumental in negotiating and getting the votes to make it happen.
After keeping a pretty low profile in Congress for almost two decades, N.C. Congressman Patrick McHenry is now at the forefront of one of the biggest political negotiations in years. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has called upon McHenry to negotiate with the White House on a debt ceiling deal that would keep the country in business and fears of a major recession at bay.
“The negotiations were intense; they’re quite challenging,” McHenry told reporters during a press conference on Capitol Hill Saturday. “The outcome of that is a fundamental shift in the spending trajectory in Washington. This is the biggest set of spending cuts and a substantial change from the spending of the last two years for this administration.”
McHenry, a Republican from Lincoln County, is the House Financial Services Committee chairman. He’s stayed out of controversy throughout his time in office, dating back to 2005.
Now, at 47 years old, he’s leading the charge in one of the biggest financial deals in decades.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the front commitment of House Republicans and us passing a fight,” McHenry said.
Doctor Susan Roberts, a political science professor at Davidson College, thinks McHenry has played his cards right and could be set up for an even bigger leadership role in the Republican Party’s future.
“I think in his own words, he said, comparing when he first came to where he is now, that he learned to respect the process,” Roberts said. “I think that’s something that many members don’t understand.”
Not only does McHenry tend to stay in line in Congress, but Roberts says he also stays in line when in his district.
“He does have a reputation as someone that takes care of his constituents, as someone that is can be looked at as a negotiator in Congress,” Roberts said.
His negotiation skills were key when cutting out this debt deal with the White House. U.S. Spending reached the debt limit of $31.4 trillion in January.
The Treasu Secretary, Janet Yellen, said if Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit or stop spending by June 5th, America will default on its debt.
McCarthy is trying to meet in the middle and please everyone, including his House Republican colleagues and the President.
“Without the commitment of House Republicans passing a plan to raise the debt ceiling and take on our nation’s finances, and turn the trajectory of this debate with the White House,” McHenry said. “Without the speaker’s firm commitment, we would not have been in these negotiations.”
QCN contacted McHenry’s office multiple times for an interview, but he was unavailable.