Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., told Newsmax on Wednesday that he'll be voting in favor of the debt ceiling bill because it's a "good first step," despite not retaining much of the 'Limit, Save, Grow' bill that House Republicans passed.
"I think the bill we passed two months ago — I wish every single bit of that would become law," Armstrong said during an appearance on "The Record with Greta Van Susteren." "But I think you'd be hard pressed to find a Democrat in either the Senate or the House that would support it. What it did do was get us to the negotiating table."
"We're dealing with 11% of the budget when all the mandatory spending is taken off the table," Armstrong continued. "We plus-up military, we plus-up veterans, and so we're dealing with 11% of the budget, and I think we're in divided government and in that package we got $2.1 trillion in cuts over the next six years."
"And no, it doesn't do nearly enough," he added. "But when you're only dealing with that portion of it, it's a good first step. It's the first time I think in my adult life that I can remember that we get to vote for a bill that spends less money next year than it did last year."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., struck a deal with President Joe Biden over the weekend that raises the debt ceiling for two years, increases work requirements for some public assistance programs, and claws back unspent COVID-19 relief funds.
The bill also trims nondefense discretionary spending in 2024 and caps discretionary spending at 1% growth in 2025.
Armstrong said that Republicans scored some "real policy wins" in the debt ceiling bill and stressed that "until people in this town get serious about the mandatory spending," Congress "cannot solve this problem in 11% of the budget."
"We're trying to thread a needle," he said. "We've got Republican senators that are really upset that we're not spending more money, particularly on the military. We have to go after the real drivers of what's causing this debt increase and, just to be honest, it's not in that 11%.
"We could cut 100% of that, and we still can't get a handle on the debt. We have to have serious, grown-up conversations about the things that are really driving the debt."
When asked if topics relating to the U.S. national debt will get better or worse in the next six years, the Sioux State congressman said, "I hope they get better, because it's unsustainable."
"China wants to win this fight without ever firing a shot and our debt is the biggest national security threat we face," he said. "I think this is a good step forward … in trying to bring fiscal sanity back to this town."
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