President Donald Trump announced on July 22 that the White House has reached a deal with Democratic and Republican leaders on a two-year budget, amounting to an against-the-odds victory for Washington pragmatists seeking to avoid politically dangerous tumult over fiscal deadlines.
“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”
Aides on both sides of the talks say the deal would restore the government’s ability to borrow to pay its bills into the next administration and build upon recent large budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies. It would mostly eliminate the risk of a repeat government shutdown this fall.
The agreement is on a broad outline for $1.37 trillion in agency spending next year and would represent a win for lawmakers eager to return Washington to a more predictable path amid political turmoil and polarization, defense hawks determined to cement big military increases, and Democrats seeking to protect domestic programs. Both sides view it as better than a protracted battle this fall that probably wouldn’t end up much differently.
President Donald Trump appeared to indicate that he’s pleased with the emerging agreement.
“I think we’re doing pretty well on a budget. It’s very important that we take care of our military. Our military was depleted. In the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve un-depleted it, to put it mildly,” Trump told reporters in an Oval Office appearance on July 22. “We need another big year.”
It also comes as budget deficits are rising to $1 trillion levels—requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar it spends—despite the thriving economy and three rounds of annual Trump budget proposals promising to crack down on the domestic programs that Pelosi is successfully defending now. It ignores warnings from deficit and debt hawks who say the nation’s fiscal future is unsustainable and will eventually drag down the economy.
“This agreement is a total abdication of fiscal responsibility by Congress and the president,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington advocacy group. “It may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history, proposed at a time when our fiscal conditions are already precarious.”
The aides who spoke July 22 about the emerging deal did so on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the record before a deal was final.
While a push by the White House and House GOP forces for new offsetting spending cuts was largely jettisoned, Pelosi has given assurances about not seeking to use the follow-up spending bills as vehicles for aggressively liberal policy initiatives.
Fights over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, other immigration-related issues, and spending priorities will be rejoined on follow-up spending bills that are likely to produce much the same result as current law. The House has passed most of its bills, using far higher levels for domestic spending. Senate measures will follow this fall, with levels reflecting the accord.
Epoch Times writer Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.