Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) will vote for the GOP’s debt limit and spending cuts bill, his office confirmed on Wednesday, reversing course from last week when he said he was a “hard no” on the legislation.
Santos’s 180-degree flip is a significant pickup for Republican leaders, who can only afford to lose a handful of votes. The congressman’s office said the New York Republican changed his stance after GOP leaders made changes to the bill overnight.
“The congressman will be voting yes and he is pleased with the changes made this morning,” his office told The Hill in a statement.
Last week, Santos said he was a “hard no” but noted that “there’s always things that can change” when asked if any revisions could bring him on board, pointing to stronger work requirements.
The initial version of the bill would mandate that able-bodied adult recipients younger than 56 years old who do not have dependents work, look for work or volunteer for at least 20 hours starting in 2025. But after a number of conservatives pushed for stricter requirements, GOP leaders — in the early hours on Wednesday — agreed to move the starting date from the beginning of fiscal year 2025 to 2024.
Wednesday morning, Santos said the change was “a positive step forward” and a “best efforts forward.” His office did not, however, specify that the work requirement change was the revision that brought him on board.
Santos flipped his vote around the same time Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), another GOP holdout, said she would back the measure. Mace for days had said she was leaning no on the legislation — voicing concerns about clean-energy provisions and balancing the budget — but after emerging from McCarthy’s office Wednesday, she changed her tune.
“I feel heard by the Speaker, and I will support the debt-ceiling vote today because he listened to my concerns, he’s willing to work with us on our concerns about balancing the budget, and that was meaningful, it was productive, and I believe it’s going to be fruitful in the near future,” Mace said.
The congresswoman said McCarthy promised to work with her on future legislation to decrease the country’s debt, which stands at roughly $31.4 trillion.
Support from Santos and Mace, however, does not mean Republican leaders are in the clear. A handful of other GOP lawmakers have either said they lean no, undecided or have not yet disclosed how they plan to vote.
The legislation, which the House will vote on Wednesday afternoon, would raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion or through March 2024, whichever comes first, and it includes $4.8 trillion in cuts to federal programs.