House Republican leaders on Wednesday narrowly won approval for their bill to raise the debt ceiling while also slashing federal spending and expanding SNAP work requirements. 

The Limit, Save, Grow Act passed the chamber 217-215 and now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate. No House Democrats voted in support.

The bill was a test for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who attempted to navigate clashing Republican concerns over the bill's contents. His original draft repealed the biofuel-related tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, but three were retained under pressure from Midwest Republicans

Four Republicans — Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee and Matt Gaetz of Florida — voted against the measure. Biggs and Gaetz both said they did not believe the measure went far enough in cutting spending.

The Iowa delegation and some other Midwestern members made what Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Iowa, called a "seismic shift" and supported the bill after the House Rules Committee approved a leadership amendment that would protect the three IRA tax incentives.

The amendment, which reduced the bill's estimated savings to taxpayers by $38.6 billion, preserved a $1-per-gallon tax credit for biomass-based diesel, a 45Q tax credit expansion for carbon sequestration and a $1.01-per-gallon tax credit for second-generation biofuels. 

The amendment does not protect a new temporary tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel and a low-carbon clean production credit, known as 45Z, that will replace the SAF and biodiesel credits in 2025. However, the amendment would protect those credits for existing contracts that rely on the incentives.

"I feel like it was one of those issues where we had to stand firm, because it was bigger than the conference," Nunn said of the biofuel incentives the lawmakers protected. "It was about our constituents, and that was the absolute first reason that the entire Iowa delegation held strong on this, including pushing back on a number of our conference members."

The bill would increase the age limit on SNAP work requirements from 49 up to 55. House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson said he supported this measure and called the bill the "most effective debt ceiling bill that we could have."

"We're really helping those folks to be able to realize the American Dream, which is to be able to get one of these great paying jobs that are open and available today," Thompson told Agri-Pulse of the work requirements. "There's lots of them out there, more than any time in history. People just may need a little bit of assistance with some employment training."

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Thompson said he supported the last-minute change to the biofuel-related measures. He also said he wasn't concerned about the Limit, Save, Grow Act having any impacts on the farm bill, which is up for reauthorization later this year.

Agriculture Committee Democrats expressed particular concern about the SNAP measures.

"What they did is disgusting, quite frankly," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "It shows a contempt for poor people in this country and we just have to fight to push back, plain and simple." 

The committee's top Democrat, David Scott, D-Ga., called the work requirement adjustments "un-American."

Scott added that he would work to prevent any changes to SNAP work requirements in the upcoming farm bill.

"Ain't no cuts going into that farm bill," Scott told Agri-Pulse. "No cuts. And as long as we keep solid, we got it."

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