Senate Passes Budget Deal, Sending It to Trump’s Desk

By Emel Akan

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate on Aug.1 voted for a two-year budget deal, increasing federal spending and preventing the threat of debt default.

Before leaving the town for August recess, the Senators voted 67-28 to approve the bipartisan deal, with 23 Republicans and five Democrats voting against it. The bill passed the House last week on a 284-149 vote.

The White House and congressional leaders raced against the clock for weeks to reach a budget deal before the August recess. On July 22, they agreed on a nearly $2.7 trillion in discretionary spending plan over the next two years, ending the threat of a fiscal crisis.

The agreement suspends the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021, allowing the federal government to borrow more.

The deal also raises discretionary spending by about $320 billion in the next two years over existing caps put in place by the 2011 budget law. It adds roughly $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, according to estimates by the Committee for a Responsible Budget.

Fiscal conservatives in both the Senate and the House, however, voiced objections to the budget plan, calling it “fiscally irresponsible.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a prominent deficit hawk, said the “deal violates every principle of conservatism.”

“Those senators who voted for an unlimited increase in the debt ceiling are not and have no right to call themselves conservatives,” he said in a speech from the Senate floor on Aug. 1.

Other Republicans who objected to the bill were Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas). And Democrats who voted against the bill included Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged lawmakers to back the budget deal. He tweeted before the Senate vote, asking Republican Senators to support the bill.

“Budget Deal is phenomenal for our Great Military, our Vets, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! Two year deal gets us past the Election,” he wrote Aug. 1 on Twitter, signaling there would be spending cuts if he wins in 2020.

“Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT!”

The new deal ends the budget caps known as sequestration under the 2011 budget law, which provides budgetary relief for the military. Under the new deal, the military budget would be $738 billion for the fiscal year 2020, a 3 percent increase from current-year levels.

According to the plan, non-defense spending would increase by $56.5 billion, about $10 billion more than defense spending over the next two years.

Grover Norquist, conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform said the new budget deal was a “wake up call.”

“This bill is the cost of losing the House of Representatives in 2016,” he said. “In 2012, Republicans held only the House and were able to force $2 trillion in spending restraint on Obama.”

“It costs a great deal of taxpayer money when you lose the House,” he added.

From The Epoch Times