Politics

Senate passes 2-year budget deal, sending bill to Trump

Key Points
  • The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to increase the U.S. budget and lift the debt ceiling for the next two years. It now heads to the Oval Office to be signed by President Trump.
  • The bill passed the House last week despite weak support from Republicans, even after Trump urged them to vote for the deal.
  • Conservative lawmakers and advocates have griped that the deal, which was hashed out in July between the White House and congressional leaders of both parties, doesn't take steps to curb spending or shrink ballooning U.S. deficits.
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Senate passes two-year budget and spending bill

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to increase the U.S. budget and lift the debt ceiling for the next two years. The spending deal now heads to the Oval Office to be signed by President Donald Trump.

The legislation passed 67-28, with 23 Republicans and five Democrats voting against the bill. Its passage in Congress — shortly before senators leave Capitol Hill for the August recess — will push off the threat of a financial crisis and automatic spending cuts that were set to kick in.

The bill passed the House last week despite weak support from Republicans, even after Trump urged them to vote for the deal.

Conservative lawmakers and advocates have griped that the deal, which was hashed out in July between the White House and congressional leaders of both parties, doesn't take steps to curb spending or shrink ballooning U.S. deficits.

Rather, the bill raises spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, setting discretionary spending at about $1.37 trillion in fiscal 2020 and even higher in 2021.

Meanwhile, total U.S. government debt now tops $22 trillion, and the White House Office of Management and Budget projects a $1 trillion deficit for 2019.

"There's a day of reckoning with this," Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said on Fox News ahead of the vote. The deal was expected to reach the 60-vote threshold required to pass in the Senate. Scott voted against the bill.

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Sen. Rick Scott on why he's voting against the bipartisan budget deal

The bill also suspends the U.S. borrowing limit for two years, allowing both parties to circumvent another politically toxic fight over the debt ceiling before the 2020 presidential election.

Trump hyped up the budget deal in a tweet, telling Republicans to "go for it" and assuring them that "there is always plenty of time to CUT!"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke on the Senate floor Thursday morning to call on his caucus to pass the bill.

"This is the agreement the administration has negotiated, this is the deal the House has passed, this is the deal President Trump is waiting and eager to sign into law, this is the deal that every member of this body should support when we vote later this morning," McConnell said.