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House Leaders Brought in Millions Amid Heated Debt Ceiling Fight

From January through March, 18 congressional party leaders reported raising a combined $16 million for their campaigns.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries hugs Rep. Kevin McCarthy after handing him the speakers gavel in a meeting of the 118th Congress, Friday, January 6, 2023, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

US House party leaders brought in the biggest fundraising hauls during the first three months of the 2024 election cycle, a new OpenSecrets analysis of first quarter federal campaign finance disclosures found.

From January through March, 18 congressional party leaders reported raising a combined $16 million for their campaigns. Nine GOP candidates collectively raised around $10.4 million of that total, while nine Democrats raised $5.7 million.

House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) and House Majority Leader Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) pulled in more funds for their campaign committees than any other candidate in a leadership position.

Of the three party leaders in the U.S. House, McCarthy is the current fundraising frontrunner, raising almost $3.8 million during the first three months of 2023. A majority of McCarthy’s funds came from individual donors, with around $1.7 million of this amount coming from small donors giving $200 or less. His leadership PAC, the Majority Committee PAC, raised about $635,000 through the same period. The Majority Committee PAC has consistently raised more than $2 million per election cycle over the past four election cycles.

McCarthy successfully convinced House Republicans to narrowly pass a bill to increase the federal debt ceiling on Wednesday, which has been dubbed his first big test as speaker. The Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 bill would raise the nation’s debt capacity while slashing federal spending and reversing President Joe Biden’s clean energy tax credits and student loan cancellation plan.

McCarthy, Scalise and other Republican leaders issued a statement last week addressing the national debt. The proposal will “save taxpayers trillions of dollars, grow our economy, and lift the debt limit into next year,” and “make us less dependent on the whims of the Chinese Communist Party and curb high inflation, all without touching Social Security or Medicare,” the April 19 statement said. Scalise, the second top Republican in the GOP-led House, has raised $2.7 million for his campaign according to quarterly disclosures.

Jeffries argued that the plan would hurt everyday Americans amid a fragile economy and the recent banking crisis. The House minority leader raised $3.7 million for his campaign in the first three months of 2023. At least $2.3 million of the haul came from both small and large individual contributors.

The proposal is not expected to pass the Democratic-led Senate and has already been rejected by Biden, who said last week that it would cut benefits for the middle class and working people.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), who was reelected to the U.S. Senate during the 2022 midterms and raised around $303,000 in the first quarter of 2023 dubbed McCarthy’s debt ceiling plan a “lose-lose” and a “gut punch to upstate NY” on Wednesday. Schumer said the proposal would jeopardize the Medicaid coverage of millions of residents, weaken the fight against climate change and cut small business and manufacturing investments, among other issues. He has already declared the plan “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), whose return to the narrowly divided Senate this month after a concussion resulted in speculations that he would retire soon, called on Biden on Wednesday to join Rep. McCarthy to resolve the debt limit disagreement.

“The president can no longer ignore by not negotiating,” McCarthy told reporters following the vote, the Hill reported. “Sen. Schumer, if he thinks he’s got a plan, put it on the floor, see if you can pass it, and then we can go to conference. But now, the president can no longer put this economy in jeopardy,” he added.

Among the top five party leaders in Congress, McConnell raised the smallest amount for his campaign so far in 2023. McConnell’s campaign brought in $179,000, and his leadership PAC, the Bluegrass Committee, has raised around $82,000 during the same period.

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