Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal on Thursday to keep the government open until after the midterm elections, while also passing a first tranche of spending bills and sending them to President Trump’s desk.
The House passed the package of bills, known as a “minibus,” in a 377-20 vote Thursday afternoon, a day after the Senate passed the same package. House and Senate negotiators from both parties had hammered out an agreement on the three spending bills earlier this week, which includes funding for the Energy Department, Veterans Affairs and the legislative branch of government, and their passage puts Congress on pace to avoid the deadline dramas of the past decade.
“This represents a return to our most basic responsibility around here: passing appropriation bills,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) on Thursday. “This is the first time since 2007 that the House and the Senate will send multiple appropriation measures to the president’s desk on time.”
Once again, we have Speaker Paul Ryan declaring victory when there really is no victory – just more craven spin and misdirection. Since regaining control of Congress in January 2015, the GOP leaders have promised the American people a return to the ‘regular budget process’ and ‘fiscal responsibility’.
The regular budget process is defined by federal law – yet it has not been followed by our Congressional representatives since the Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007. Since that time, the budget process has focused around ‘Omnibus’ spending bills and continuing resolutions which lead to less, not more fiscal responsibility.
Speaker Ryan, and the other Congressional leaders, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi have agreed that instead debating and passing individual spending bills for each department and agency, they will now pass ‘Minibus’ spending bills where 2, 3, or 4 departments have their spending lumped together. Rather than a continuing resolution, these ‘Minibus’ spending bills will only fund those departments and agencies from the start of the 2019 Fiscal Year on October 1, 2018 to December 7, 2018.
The goal is to avoid and prevent the midterms from being impacted by an ongoing budget fight and concerns of a government shutdown when funding runs out.
Because this is a bipartisan deal, it’s as bad as the bipartisan fiscally irresponsible spending bill that the GOP foisted on the President in March to fund the balance of the current fiscal year. There is no fiscal responsiblity. No funding for the building of a wall along the southern US border. Federal spending will increase to new record levels. But all of this is offset by granting the members of the US Military their largest pay raise in 9 years (didn’t we just do this earlier this year?), right?
Oh, and for President Trump’s tirade that he would never ever sign another spending bill of such fiscal irresponsibility?
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that Mr. Trump “looks forward to signing this legislation,” and he has previously pledged to put off his fight for more border-wall funding until after the November elections.
Congress passed a trio of spending bills totaling almost $147 billion to fund part of the federal government, putting lawmakers on pace to avoid the deadline drama that has regularly threatened shutdowns over the past decade.
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