The Senate passed a budget agreement Thursday that would fund the government for two years and suspend the debt ceiling. The legislation will go to President Donald Trump’s desk for him to sign.
The Senate passed the budget agreement, H.R. 3877 the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, 67-278, featuring strong Democrat support for the bill and conservative Republican opposition to the bill. The Senate is expected to go into recess for the rest of the summer.
The House passed the budget agreement last week, 2with a majority of Democrat votes. Many House conservatives hailing from the House Freedom Caucus voted against the legislation.
Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN) Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) were among the conservative Republicans that voted against the budget agreement.
Trump and congressional Democrats agreed on a budget package that would increase spending by $320 billion over two years and lift the debt limit until July 2021. The budget agreement would also eliminate the Budget Control Act, which former President Barack Obama signed at the behest of congressional Republicans, and pushing the government to the brink of defaulting on the national debt to pass it. The Budget Control Act was once seen as a signature achievement of congressional Republicans in the Obama era, setting spending limits that would be enforced with automatic spending cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that all senators should vote for the budget agreement, which arose through tough negotiations with congressional Democrat leaders such as House Speakers Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“This is the agreement the administration has negotiated,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday. “This is the deal the House has passed. This is the deal President Trump is waiting [for] and eager to sign into law. This is the deal that every member of this body should support when we vote later this morning.”
The Senate rejected an amendment to the budget proposed by Sen. Paul, which would cut spending and balance the budget; however, it failed to get the 60 votes necessary to pass.
Sen. Paul said in an op-ed for Breitbart News Thursday, “To allow the debt limit to go up an infinite amount, as much as Congress can possibly spend over nearly a two-year period, is about as fiscally irresponsible as has ever been seen in our history.”
“Today will be a litmus test for fiscal conservatism. Those senators who vote for an unlimited increase in the debt ceiling are not conservatives and have no right to call themselves that,” Paul continued. “So, America, wake up and watch the vote today and discover who actually gives a damn for the future of our country.”
Other conservative Republican senators slammed the budget agreement for not doing enough to cut spending.
Sen. Blackburn said in a statement Thursday:
Governance requires tough choices, and if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. Our priority should be ensuring our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to defend U.S. interests, our allies, and freedom. Holding those resources hostage to bloated, inefficient, and wasteful federal spending is shameful and inappropriate.
“In 2010, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said, ‘the most significant threat to our national security is our debt.’ It is time Congress takes this threat seriously,” Blackburn added.