GOVERNMENT

House passes bipartisan budget bill with Trump support

Jul 25, 2019, 3:50 PM
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democratic Caucus hold an event on the House s...
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democratic Caucus hold an event on the House steps to highlight their agenda since taking the majority in the 2018 election, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 25, 2019. The House leaves for a five week August recess Friday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Observing a rare cease-fire in their battles with President Donald Trump, the Democratic-controlled House on Thursday easily passed bipartisan debt and budget legislation to permit the Treasury to issue bonds to pay the government’s bills and lock in place recent budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

The measure, passed by a 284-149 vote, would head off another politically dangerous government shutdown and add a measure of stability to action this fall on a $1.37 trillion slate of annual appropriations bills.

The hard-won agreement between the administration and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lifts the limit on the government’s $22 trillion debt for two years and averts the risk of the Pentagon and domestic agencies from being hit with $125 billion in automatic spending cuts that are all that’s left of a failed 2011 budget pact. It is a welcome detente for lawmakers seeking to avoid political and economic turmoil over the possibility of a government shutdown or first federal default.

Trump took to Twitter to give the legislation his strongest endorsement yet: “House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets.” He added in a note of encouragement, “I am totally with you!”

Democrats rallied behind the legislation, which protects domestic programs some of them have fought to protect for decades through extended stretches of GOP control of Congress. Pelosi held the vote open to make sure the tally of Democratic votes topped the 218 required to pass the measure with Democratic support alone.

House GOP conservatives, many of whom won election promising to tackle entrenched federal deficits, generally recoiled from it.

Many supporters, including the GOP leadership team, praised the bill as an imperfect but necessary result of Washington’s current divided balance of power and an already overheated presidential campaign.

“The alternatives are very, very bad,” said Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee.

But it contains no new steps to curb spending elsewhere in the budget, rankling conservatives and lawmakers alarmed by the return of $1 trillion-plus budget deficits.

“Republicans who go along with this budget deal will lose all credibility on spending. This budget deal is ludicrous,” said Jason Pye of the FreedomWorks conservative advocacy group. “The GOP has been misleading the American public on spending for years now. Yeah, they talk a great game on the campaign trail. But when it’s crunch time, they fold.”

Trump’s active support for the measure did little to stem the tide of GOP defections. Democrats backed the bill by a 13-1 margin while less than one in three Republicans supported the Trump-backed measure.

GOP conservatives, who comprise Trump’s strongest base of support in Washington, weren’t critical of Trump for agreeing to the deal, even after Pelosi forced GOP negotiators to drop ambitious cuts to try to defray the bill’s impact on the debt.

“You just have to understand that you lost in the negotiations and express your opinion, vote your conscience and go on,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. “It’s different when you’re in the minority.”

Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., forced a vote to renamed the measure as “A Bill to Kick the Can Down the Road.” It was easily defeated.
Pelosi was the main architect of the measure, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Both sides see it as being in their interest to avert the alternative: A chaotic fall congressional session that could have pinballed from crisis to crisis.

Fights over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, other immigration-related issues, and spending priorities will be rejoined on follow-on spending bills this fall. The House has passed most of its bills, using far higher levels for domestic spending. Senate measures will follow this fall, with levels reflecting the accord.

Washington’s arcane budget rules give each side a way to paint the deal favorably. Generally speaking, it would lock in place big increases won by both sides in a 2018 pact.

By one measure, the price tag for the legislation posts at $324 billion. But more than two-thirds of that is to simply maintain current spending levels rather than fall prey to the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration. Another measure is $103 billion, spread over two years to Pentagon and domestic accounts, to permit modest budget hikes of 3 or 4 percentage points above current levels.

Pelosi won a little more money for domestic programs than defense, but it would be eaten up by large new costs for the census and new private-sector health programs for veterans.

“We are pleased that our increase in non-defense budget actually exceeds the parity number on defense by $10 billion over the next two years,” Pelosi said. “And we’re pleased to be able to say that we have secured an increase of more than $100 billion in the budget cap for domestic priorities since the President took office.”

Today’s Top Stories

Government

Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...
Mark Jones

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Three pharmaceutical retailers are facing a lawsuit from the State of Utah. The lawsuit was filed the week of July 1.
2 days ago
This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
3 days ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
3 days ago
Immigration activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26. Photo credi...
Tierney Sneed and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy.
3 days ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
3 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
House passes bipartisan budget bill with Trump support