The house votes thursday to pass a two-year budget deal that raises the debt ceiling and lifts strict spending caps despite major opposition from a majority of Republicans over not fully paying for the new spending increases.
In a bipartisan 284-149 vote, nearly all Democrats backed the $2.7 trillion budget agreement, while 65 Republicans joined them in supporting it. The legislation raises the federal borrowing limit until July 2021. The deal secured about $320 billion in new defense and domestic spending including about $77 billion in offsets to pay for the additional spending.
The agreement, brokered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, effectively wipes out the strict budget caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act that were in effect until 2021.
House Republican leaders scrambled to rally support among their caucus to back the budget agreement endorsed by President Donald Trump. But they went into Thursday’s vote knowing it’d be a tough sell to get many rank-and-file members on board. Ultimately, 132 Republicans ended up voting against the budget agreement.
A large contingent of Republicans maintained their steadfast opposition to the bill, particularly fiscal hawks in the House Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee who believed the agreement was fiscally irresponsible. They wanted higher offsets to pay for the increased spending levels, but only got half of the $150 billion in cuts proposed by the White House.
Republicans touted the increase in defense spending as well as Democrats agreeing not to add any policy riders or “poison pill” riders that could threaten the bill’s passage. And Trump urged members to get behind the bill.
“House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets. I am totally with you!” Trump tweeted ahead of the Thursday vote.
Meanwhile, some Democrats had raised concerns about the elevated budget for the Pentagon, but the Congressional Progressive Caucus ultimately got behind leadership in support of the budget deal. Only 16 House Democrats opposed the bill.
Democrats also applauded efforts to secure $2.5 billion to help with the 2020 census after a contentious fight from Trump’s administration to add a citizenship question to the survey for the first time since 1950. After a number of legal challenges and a Supreme Court decision blocking its inclusion, Trump relented and said they’d obtain the data in other ways.
The legislation now moves to the Senate which will vote on the measure early next week before heading out of town for August recess.