Talking Points: Default Agreement

White House Messaging 


  • For months, the President made clear that Congress must meet its basic constitutional responsibility to prevent a first-ever default—just as it had done 78 times since 1960.
  • The President forcefully laid out the economic stakes of a default—a recession, millions of jobs lost, devastated retirement accounts, higher borrowing costs—and made clear that failure was not an option.
  • The House Freedom Caucus tried to hold hostage our economy, working families’ retirements and livelihoods, and the full faith and credit of the United States—and failed.


The President said from the beginning that he would negotiate with Republican leadership on a budget agreement—just like we do every year. He directed his team to work in good faith toward a reasonable, bipartisan agreement to:

  • Protect his historic legislative accomplishments
  • Protect the economic gains we’ve made: 12.7 million jobs created and the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years
  • Protect peoples’ health care and not push people into poverty
  • Block draconian cuts to law enforcement, public safety, and education

Negotiations require give and take. No one gets everything they want. That’s how divided government works. But the President successfully protected his and Democrats’ core priorities and the historic economic progress we’ve made over the past two years. The bipartisan budget agreement: 

  • Protects the President’s historic legislative accomplishments, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the PACT Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act—the most aggressive action in our history to tackle the climate crisis, invest in environmental justice, and create millions of clean energy manufacturing jobs.
  • Beats back extreme cuts to programs millions of hardworking families count on.
  • Builds on the President’s strong record of deficit reduction and sets the stage for the appropriations process to proceed.
  • Beats back cuts to Medicaid that would have put health coverage at risk for 21 million people, and insisted on SNAP eligibility expansions for veterans, people who are homeless, and others, while also fighting to minimize SNAP cuts.
  • Protects the President’s historic action to provide student debt relief to hardworking borrowers recovering from a once in a generation pandemic.
  • Protects critical public health funding to prepare for—and research treatments and vaccines to protect Americans from—future pandemics and COVID-19 surges.


Topline Spending Levels:

  • The deal does not return funding to FY 2022, and instead keeps non-defense spending roughly flat with current (FY 2023) levels in 2024 when factoring in agreed upon appropriations adjustments. The agreed-upon levels reflect what the Administration had successfully negotiated at the end of last calendar year. And, the deal follows two years of the Administration securing substantial increases in key investments such as Title I, CCDBG, cancer research and more.
  • The President protected against $130 billion in devastating cuts that would have hurt hardworking families, raised peoples’ costs, and hindered economic growth.
  • There are no budget caps after 2025, only non-enforceable appropriations targets.
  • The agreement fully funds medical care for veterans, including the funding the PACT Act’s toxic exposure fund (TEF) at the levels included in President Biden’s FY2024 budget.

Specific funding levels:

  • $886B for defense (P Budget level, 3% increase)
  • $121B for veterans’ medical care (P Budget level)
  • $637B for other non-defense programs, taking into account all agreed-upon adjustments – virtually equal to 2023

Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF Cuts: The President fought policies that would have taken away health care and pushed people into poverty. 

  • No changes to Medicaid. The agreement does not include changes that would have put Medicaid at risk for 21 million Americans. 
  • Insisted on SNAP eligibility expansions for veterans, people who are homeless, and others, while also fighting to minimize SNAP cuts and make them temporary.  The agreement phases in and then sunsets SNAP time limits to people up to age 54, which the President fought hard against. But, at his insistence, it also includes reforms reducing the number of vulnerable people of all ages subject to SNAP time limits – including veterans and people who are homeless.  And these changes will sunset in 2030, giving Congress an opportunity to evaluate the effect of these reforms. 
  • Prevented TANF changes that would have jeopardized the ability of states to support vulnerable children. The changes to TANF that would have put cash assistance at risk for nearly 1 million children are not in the agreement. The President fought to ensure states can continue to support those families and their children. 

Energy & Environment

  • The agreement codifies, in NEPA, reforms aimed at boosting the coordination, predictability, and certainty associated with federal agency decision-making.  The agreement includes provisions to designate a single lead agency, charged with developing a single environmental review document according to a clear and public timeline.  The agreement makes these changes without curtailing the substantive scope of NEPA, cutting down the statute of limitations, imposing barriers to standing, or taking away injunctive relief or other judicial remedies.
  • The agreement does not include any changes to the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate and clean energy provisions.

Student Debt Relief: The budget agreement keeps in place the President’s plan to provide student debt relief for hardworking borrowers recovering from a once in a generation pandemic. The budget agreement codifies an end to the pause – which the Administration had planned to end on September 1.


  • Now, the House must pass this bill and send it to the Senate so that the President can sign it into law—and so that we can continue to build on the historic economic progress we’ve made under the President’s leadership over the past two years.
Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: