Republican War on ‘Woke’ Policies Creeps into Debt-Ceiling Debate

House Republicans are eyeing $150 billion in spending cuts that reflect a hardline drive to target education, healthcare, and housing as they push forward in talks on the federal debt ceiling.

The money is particularly towards efforts to address racial inequities that conservatives deride as “woke”. 

House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington said Republicans are assembling a budget along the lines of a budget proposal developed by Russell Vought, who served as Republican President Donald Trump’s budget chief.

Specifics have not yet been provided on what Arrington plans to suggest to his fellow Republicans to cut. 

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has vowed not to allow an increase in the $31.4 trillion legal limit on federal borrowing without an agreement from President Joe Biden’s Democrats in Congress to rein in federal spending.

Failing to lift the debt ceiling could trigger a default on the federal government’s debt. 

That would take a heavy toll on the U.S. economy, likely affecting economies around the world.

The U.S. could face an unprecedented default on its obligations as soon as early June if Congress does not act to lift the debt limit, experts say. 

Vought’s proposals move the debate forward from the back-and-forth on Social Security and Medicare that dominated much of the past month.

Republicans have increasingly used “woke” as a pejorative term regarding liberal views on race, gender, and sexuality, for example attacking school courses about U.S. racial injustice and LGBTQ rights.

Vought said he would seek cuts to the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services, as well as to foreign aid, and to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs aimed at preventing chronic and sexually transmitted diseases.

It is expected that Vought’s plans will be very well-liked within the controversial conservative House Freedom Caucus. 

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