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White House, Congress strike a two-year debt ceiling and budget deal

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump and congressional leaders struck a two-year U.S. debt ceiling and budget deal Monday, the president announces via Twitter.
  • The budget deal would raise U.S. discretionary spending to $1.37 trillion in fiscal year 2020, up from $1.32 trillion this year, according to Reuters.
  • The deal moves the U.S. closer to dodging the threat of debt default and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts. It also could prevent a government shutdown when funding expires after Sept. 30, though lawmakers will have to pass separate appropriations bills.
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White House and Congress strike two year debt ceiling deal

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders struck a two-year U.S. debt ceiling and budget deal Monday, the president announced via Twitter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement Monday, saying they are pleased the administration "has finally agreed to join Democrats in ending these devastating cuts."

"The House will now move swiftly to bring the budget caps and debt ceiling agreement legislation to the Floor, so that it can be sent to the President's desk as soon as possible," the statement said. "With this agreement, we can avoid the damage of sequestration and continue to advance progress for the people."

The budget deal would raise U.S. discretionary spending to $1.37 trillion in fiscal year 2020, up from $1.32 trillion this year, according to Reuters.

The deal moves the U.S. closer to dodging the threat of debt default and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts. It also could prevent a government shutdown when funding expires after Sept. 30, though lawmakers will have to pass separate appropriations bills.

A sequester would have taken effect in January without congressional action.

The budget agreement was earlier expected to include parity between increases in defense spending and domestic, non-defense outlays — a priority for Pelosi. It was also expected to set spending at $320 billion above sequester levels for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, as well as have about $75 billion in spending offsets, measures conservatives have backed.

The deal will face resistance. Some conservatives who have called for deeper spending reductions pushed for the White House to reject the potential agreement as details emerged in recent days.

Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican and chairman of the roughly 150-member Republican Study Committee, told CNBC that the group is "discouraged" by the developing agreement. The lack of future spending cuts is "perhaps our greatest concern," he added.

Johnson said he spoke to Trump on Saturday and shared his concerns about the deal. He said Trump "understood the sentiments I was expressing."

Johnson said he was not worried about a possible default if Trump had sunk the deal. He said he expected Congress would have temporarily raised the debt ceiling before the U.S. faced the real possibility of defaulting on its debt.

Support from Trump and congressional GOP leaders could convince some skeptical conservatives to back the deal and ensure its passage. However, Trump has changed his mind on backing major legislation in the past.

Lawmakers scrambled to strike a deal before they leave for their August recess. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the U.S. could run out of cash to pay its bills by September, setting up the potential for default on the federal debt.