Last night the House of Representatives approved a budget deal that would spend $323 billion above existing discretionary spending caps. The deal, negotiated between House Democrats, Senate GOP leadership, and the president, was met with fierce opposition by many conservatives and fiscal hawks.
Overall, the Trump-Pelosi spending deal increases the discretionary spending caps set in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 to $666.5 billion for defense and $621.5 billion for non-defense discretionary.
The deal pushes the debt ceiling out for two more years and estimates state that the agreement will add $1.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade.
The current national debt already stands at a staggering $22.5 trillion.
Sixty-five Republicans joined 219 Democrats to pass the bill and send the legislation over to the Senate. Meanwhile, 16 Democrats joined 132 Republicans and the lone independent, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), to vote against the bill.
Ahead of the vote, President Trump tweeted, “House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets. I am totally with you!”
Passage of the new budget agreement all but ends the spending caps enacted by the Budget Control Act in 2011, effectively killing the last vestige of the Tea Party movement’s spending restraint legacy.
Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX-06) issued a statement after the vote saying, “You can warm your boots in the oven, but that doesn’t make them biscuits. Washington can call this a good, bipartisan budget deal, but that doesn’t make it a good deal for the American people.”
In contrast, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13) stated on July 22, “While I believe that our military needs more funding than this agreement provides, it undoubtedly makes our military stronger and more agile.”
Some members have other concerns with the bill separate from Congress once again busting the spending caps. Specifically, the degree to which the bill will prohibit additional provisions and policy riders from being added.
The bill’s supporters repeated that no “poison pills” would be added to the legislation, jargon for provisions that could potentially modify the substance of the bill.
The Texan spoke with several Capitol Hill staffers on background about the deal.
One senior conservative staffer stressed skepticism about this claim of avoiding “poison pills” as some lawmakers feel they’ve been burned by such a promise in the past — most recently with the omnibus spending bill of 2018 that included campaign finance policies, environmental riders, and other provisions not agreed upon.
The Senate’s compromise with the House eventually dropped them from the final version in that bill, but not without strong protests.
Another senior conservative staffer told The Texan, “Both sides are whistling past the graveyard on spending and the debt. In less than a decade, we went from cut and balance [the budget] to blowing it up to kingdom come.” The staffer also added, “the House Freedom Caucus would have been up in a tizzy about this, but now they act like they’re too preoccupied with the Mueller investigation.”
Every Democrat in the Texas congressional delegation supported the bill.
The Texas Republicans who joined their Democrat colleagues and voted for the agreement were Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX-8), Michael McCaul (R-TX-10), Mike Conaway (R-TX-11), Kay Granger (R-TX-12), Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13), Will Hurd (R-TX-23), John Carter (R-TX-31), and Brian Babin (R-TX-36).
All other Texas Republicans voted against the bill.
Notably, Babin was the only Texas House member to vote for the budget deal who also signed Rep. Chip Roy’s (R-TX-21) letter in early May urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to avoid busting the spending caps.
Babin’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it will be voted on early next week and is expected to pass before moving to President Trump’s desk for a likely signature.
Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.