Aug. 1 (UPI) — The Senate voted Thursday to pass a major bipartisan spending bill that increases the federal budget and defers the debt ceiling for another two years — settling fears the limit could bring severe economic harm.
The bill was passed by a vote of 67-28. Nearly two dozen Republicans and five Democrats voted against the proposal. It was approved by the House last week and President Donald Trump has promised to sign it.
The plan provides about $1.4 trillion for discretionary spending for the next two years, and includes $738 billion in defense spending and hundreds of billions in non-defense spending for fiscal 2020. As part of the pact, Congress also agrees not to introduce any policy “riders” on future spending bills and allows the Trump administration to reprogram funds for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Budget Deal is phenomenal for our Great Military, our Vets, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” Trump tweeted. “Two-year deal gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT.”
The budget package is truly a bipartisan effort, as it was created by Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy, the parties’ top lawmakers in each chamber. Because it authorizes spending for two years, the bill averts any potential government shutdown over that period.
The proposal to suspend the debt ceiling comes just five months after the limit returned from a 1-year suspension. Congressional leaders and economic analysts had warned the Treasury Department would’ve run out of money by September or October without a fox or another suspension. The national debt exceeded the $22 trillion mark for the first time in February. When the ceiling was reinstated March 1, it limited the Treasury’s ability to borrow money.
Twenty-three Republicans voted against, including Mitt Romney of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida.
“We have got to figure out how to live within our means and this deal does just the opposite,” Scott tweeted. “We can’t keep running trillion-dollar deficits. There will be a day of reckoning and future generations will pay the price if we stay on this path.”