Wednesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Schumer announced the Senate had come to a budget agreement. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the deal “a significant bipartisan step forward.”
The agreement keeps the government open for six weeks and provides two years of massive spending hikes.
From CBS News:
“I am pleased to announce that we have reached a two-year budget deal,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
The massive agreement directs relief to all corners, from a cash-strapped military to storm-ravaged states.
“This bill is the product of extensive negotiations,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.
The bill addresses several looming crises. It funds the government for six weeks and raises federal budget caps for two years, with the increase divided almost equally between defense spending ($165 billion) and domestic spending ($131 billion).
The bill also lifts the nation’s debt ceiling for a year and allocates $90 billion in emergency funds for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires.
A release from McConnell’s office spelled out the particulars which include:
- This agreement will unwind the sequestration cuts that have hamstrung America’s armed forces and jeopardized our national security by funding the military at this year’s National Defense Authorization Act levels.
- It breaks the spending “parity” demanded for years by Democrats by giving defense a larger funding increase than non-defense discretionary spending. Compared to current law spending caps, the agreement increases defense discretionary funding by $80 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019 vs. an increase in non-defense domestic discretionary of $63 billion in FY 2018 and $68 billion in FY 2019.
- This agreement provides for America’s veterans by helping reduce the maintenance backlog at the Veterans Administration.
- It also provides almost $90 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief efforts for communities crippled by hurricanes in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida and Texas.
- This agreement includes $6 billion over two years to bolster the ongoing fight against opioid addiction and substance abuse by funding grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts in vulnerable communities across the country.
- The agreement includes a $20 billion new investment in America’s infrastructure — a bipartisan priority shared by the President and lawmakers in both parties.
- The agreement lifts the debt limit through March 1, 2019.
- It includes structural reforms to Medicare and cuts to Obamacare, and repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) from Obamacare.
- It includes an extension of funding for Community Health Centers.
- This agreement includes an extension of tax relief provisions that are supported by Republicans and Democrats.
- It includes $2 billion in funding over two years for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- It establishes two committees to address pension and budget/appropriations reform.
Congress has until Thursday night to pass a funding bill or face another shutdown. The Senate may have come to an agreement, but they need the House to sign off on it too.
Not everyone is keen on the deal. As CBS reported, Rep. Nancy Pelosi is not willing to support the bill unless an immigration reform component is added:
“This package cannot have my support,” House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said. Pelosi is holding out for a promise from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, on immigration.
“This is about the children,” she said. “That’s what we’re asking for, just simply a vote.”
Commandeering the House floor for more than eight hours Wednesday, Pelosi read letters from so called “Dreamers.”
They’ve also lost the ACLU:
The Senate announced today a deal to fund the government for the next two months that does not include protections for young immigrants.
This announcement on a budget deal without protections for Dreamers is unacceptable.
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 7, 2018
Republican Congressmen are equally unimpressed with the spending palooza:
“I’ll support it,” Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said. “I think it’s the best deal we can get. To me the main thing is funding the military.”
Now GOP leaders must quell a conservative uprising. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, said the bill is “a debt junky’s dream.” Budget hawks balked at the new domestic funding demanded by Democrats.
“I don’t know what kind of waste we’ve got to swallow in order to get an agreement on defense,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said.
The Hill had more reaction:
House conservatives on Wednesday revolted against a massive bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and bust spending caps, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility.
“I’m not only a ‘no.’ I’m a ‘hell no,’” quipped Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of many members of the Tea Party-aligned Freedom Caucus who left a closed-door meeting of Republicans saying they would vote against the deal.
It’s a “Christmas tree on steroids,” lamented one of the Freedom Caucus leaders, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.).
“This spending proposal is disgusting and reckless — the biggest spending increase since 2009,” conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) tweeted after the meeting. “I urge every American to speak out against this fiscal insanity.”
The debt hike, in particular, is giving conservatives “heartburn,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), a member of the GOP vote-counting team.
Without even getting into the details of the agreement, nothing about a trillion dollar spending increase is ok. Nothing. And shame on Senate Republicans for agreeing to this kind of spending without significant cuts.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.