Utah’s two Republican senators had different reactions to the debt ceiling deal finalized over the weekend, with Sen. Mitt Romney saying he supports the agreement while Sen. Mike Lee has expressed his displeasure with the deal in multiple tweets.

A spokesman for Lee told the Deseret News on Monday that the senator is “extremely disappointed with what emerged from the negotiations and his tweets convey that. I expect he’ll have much more to say in coming days.”

In a statement released Monday, Romney praised some of the reforms included in the agreement, which was finalized late Saturday, while saying he wished negotiators had addressed entitlement reform.

“The deal is good for the country in that it prevents a default and subsequent financial meltdown, while also limiting spending,” Romney said. “In addition, House leadership successfully fought for conservative priorities like work requirements for TANF and SNAP, and reduced permitting review timelines.”

“While I would have preferred to see an agreement that also addressed entitlements, this represents a good-faith bipartisan compromise, and I’m hopeful the House and Senate will pass it into law in the coming days.”

The agreement was hammered out by negotiators for President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Language for the bill was released Sunday, with McCarthy saying he expects a vote on Wednesday.

Sen. Mike Lee to offer amendment on Fiscal Responsibility Act

Called the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the legislation would lift the cap on the amount of money the nation can borrow until January 2025, in exchange for limits on spending in 2023 and 2024. It would claw back unspent COVID-19 funds, and would add extra work requirements for some individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

It also includes permitting reforms for energy projects, and expedites the completion of a West Virginia pipeline important to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

At a press conference Sunday, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, one of the chief negotiators for House Republicans, said the final deal represents a “fundamental shift in the spending trajectory in Washington.” He called the negotiations “intense” and “quite challenging.”

The Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary estimate shows the bill could cut spending by $2.1 trillion over the next six years if the budget caps are left in place, according to reporting by Punchbowl News.

After months of saying he did not want to negotiate over a debt ceiling increase, Biden praised the final agreement at a press conference Sunday.

He said, “it takes the threat of catastrophic default off the table; it protects our hard-earned and historic economic recovery.”

“And the agreement also represents a compromise, which means no one got everything they want. But that’s the responsibility of governing,” he said.

But several Republicans, including Lee, have said they don’t think the final bill goes far enough.

Lee retweeted presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy saying he would not vote for the debt ceiling bill. He also thanked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, who told Fox News, “Prior to this deal ... our country was careening toward bankruptcy, and after this deal our country will still be careening toward bankruptcy.”

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Lee also backed Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, who has openly criticized the final agreement. After Roy released a thread where he said the deal did not go far enough, Lee quote tweeted Roy and said, “With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?”

While some Democrats in the House say they will likely support the bill, others are criticizing the agreement.

On Fox News Sunday, Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Himes said he thinks the bill “may get Democratic votes.” But Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal told CNN the new work requirements in the bill are “absolutely terrible policy.”

On Friday, before the agreement was reached, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the nation can continue to pay its bills through June 5. In order for the agreement to take effect, it would need to pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the president.

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