Over the objections of legislators like tea party U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who said the legislation really is a spectacular failure because it will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the country’s spiraling debt, the Senate passed debt and budget legislation that President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign into law. Here’s what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shared from the Senate floor earlier today.
McConnell said, “So if we say we’re serious about countering threats to our homeland, our allies, and our men and women deployed overseas, if we say that we’re serious then we have to actually deliver on our promise to equip our forces for the job. We have to invest and improve readiness to help our military commanders plan for emerging challenges, in research and development to support the U.S. military of the future and in rock solid support for our alliance commitment, which help preserve the peace and extend the reach of our values.”
According to a Real Clear Politics article from last week, this debt and budget legislation permits the Treasury to issue bonds to pay federal bills and lock in place recent budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies essentially lifting the $22 trillion limit on government debt for two years and averts $125 billion automatic spending cuts or sequestration as well as the possibility of the first federal default or another government shutdown. House Democrats rallied behind the legislation, which protects some decades-old socialist domestic spending programs while House conservatives, many of whom won election promising to tackle entrenched federal deficits, were disappointed the legislation contains no new steps to curb spending and has all fiscally responsible lawmakers alarmed by the return of $1 trillion-plus budget deficits.
Speaker Pelosi forced House conservatives to drop ambitious cuts to try to defray the bill’s impact on the debt but did yield to President Trump’s demand to retain budgetary transfer authority to shift funding to border projects. Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), forced an unsuccessful vote to rename the measure “A Bill to Kick the Can Down the Road.” Generally speaking, the legislation locks in big increases, budgets $324 billion mostly to maintain current spending and allocates another $103 billion, spread over two years, enabling for 3 to 4 percent budget increases above current levels.
The majority leader said, “This deal is an opportunity to do exactly that. This is the agreement the administration has negotiated. This is the deal the House has passed. This is the deal President Trump is waiting and eager to sign into law. This is the deal that every member of this body should support when we vote later this morning.”
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said, “Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? If not the ayes are 67 the nays are 28 and the bill is passed.” So the bill that passed permits the government to resume borrowing to pay its bills and sets an overall $1.37 trillion limit on agency budgets approved by Congress annually. It also removes the prospect of a government shutdown in October and automatic spending cuts designed to control government spending.
Includes reporting from Real Clear Politics and The Associated Press