Congress Strikes a Deal on Government Spending, Hoping to Avert Another Government Shutdown

Congressional leaders struck a deal on a two-year spending deal on Wednesday that will boost defense and domestic spending.

White House legislative director Marc Short told reporters on Wednesday that he expected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to announce a deal later on Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor on Wednesday, “This bill is the product of extensive negotiations among congressional leaders and the White House. No one would suggest it was perfect, but we worked hard to find common ground and stay focused on serving the American people.”

The deal will likely increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $300 billion over the next two years; the Defense Department’s budget will rise by $80 billion and domestic spending will increase by $63 billion in 2018 alone.

The budget deal will also raise the debt ceiling for one year.

Republicans and Democrats have sparred on whether to match an increase in defense and domestic spending, although it appears that congressional leaders have agreed to a long-term deal.

It remains unclear whether the House will accept this deal; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) threatened to oppose a budget deal on the House floor on Wednesday unless House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) commits to allowing a vote on amnesty legislation.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) remains skeptical about the ramifications of this deal. Meadows told Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough on Monday, “I’m afraid that the deal they’re going to announce, Chuck Schumer will be very happy about that. The Freedom Caucus members won’t later today because we’re going to increase the size of government some 13 percent.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said, “This is a bad, bad, bad, bad — you could say ‘bad’ a hundred times — deal. When you put it all together, a quarter-of-a-trillion-dollar increase in discretionary spending — not what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Meadows added, “We have to break the cycle of dysfunction we believe where every increase of the dollar has to include an increase somewhere else.”

The North Carolina congressman said, “Today is not going to necessarily be a good day for deficit and fiscal hawks.”


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