Pelosi, Mnuchin make high-dollar budget deal
by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/23/19, 12:15 pm
WASHINGTON—Congress and the Trump administration reached a two-year budget deal Monday evening that hikes federal spending by nearly $320 billion and raises the nation’s debt ceiling until July 2021. After days of negotiating, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed to nearly equal increases for military and nonmilitary programs, with $738 billion designated for the Pentagon and $632 billion for other programs. In defiance of the mandatory spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act, the compromise contains only $77.4 billion in offsets. In exchange, Pelosi agreed not to include as riders in funding bills any policy “poison pills” such as limiting President Donald Trump’s use of discretionary funding for a wall at the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Monday’s announcement comes as budget deficits are rising to $1 trillion levels, requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar it spends. And it ignores recent warnings from the Congressional Budget Office that the overspending is not sustainable. Some fiscally conservative lawmakers, led by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, urged the president in a letter to veto the bill because it does not balance the budget, Politico reported. Some Democrats, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., are also disavowing the bill because it does not allow them to push for legislative priorities. The bill is expected to win the support of moderate lawmakers from both parties.
Trump tweeted Monday that the deal is a “real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!” To avoid a government shutdown, party leaders hope to pass the budget before the House leaves for the August recess on Friday. The Senate is scheduled to leave next week.
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