GOP Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona explains why he voted to lift debt ceiling

Jun 2, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 1:37 pm

Photo of Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, 2023. Ciscom...

Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, 2023. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona said Friday the deal to lift the debt ceiling isn’t perfect, but it beats the alternative of letting the government default on what it owes.

“It’s not a perfect bill; no one is claiming it is,” the freshman Republican from southern Arizona told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “There are things that I wish we would have gotten that we don’t have.”

Ciscomani said the deal has “a lot of wins,” including reduced spending for next year and provisions to support veterans and seniors. He also noted that it doesn’t have any new taxes or government programs.

“We avoided a very bad situation on either the clean lift or the default, and we actually gained quite a bit of ground,” he said.

The Treasury Department said last week the U.S. would start running short of cash to pay its bills Monday if the debt ceiling remained in place.

The compromise package negotiated between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday with bipartisan support in both chambers. Biden was expected to sign it Friday.

Ciscomani was one of two Arizona Republicans to vote yes, joining Rep. David Schweikert. All but one of the state’s Democrats (Rep. Raul Grijalva), along with independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, also voted yes.

Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko and Eli Crane were among the 71 House Republicans to vote no.

“They had to make their own calculated decision on what they saw,” Ciscomani said. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there on what this does. The way that I looked at this, I have a responsibility to govern.

“Washington is famous for passing things that will never become law just so that they can get their name on something that they agree with. I wasn’t sent up there to play those games.”

Ciscomani said the reality is that control of Congress is split, and Democrats hold the White House.

“I challenged everyone that was voting no on this, ‘Well, give us something that would have the support on both chambers and that the president would sign,'” he said.

“Otherwise, we’re just approaching this cliff that will not be good for our country. It would actually be terrible. So this is what we could have that would actually move the needle and avoid the inevitable default that was coming had we not passed this.”

Ciscomani said he’ll continue working on the priorities Republican didn’t get into the debt ceiling bill.

“We’re turning this big ship around of spending and we’re doing it one of these bills at a time,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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GOP Rep. Juan Ciscomani of Arizona explains why he voted to lift debt ceiling