LAST WEEK, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced they had come to an agreement on a two-year budget deal. The emerging plan, hurriedly reached to ensure it cleared both chambers before the August recess, calls for substantial increases in top-line defense and nondefense spending for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
On top of the new spending, the deal also suspends the debt limit for the next two years, effectively halting any debate over the budget until well after the 2020 election. This budget agreement includes a mere $75 billion in budgetary offsets while adding $2 trillion to the national debt.
This irresponsible spending deal completely negates President Trump’s campaign promises to balance the budget by cutting spending. By signing the agreement Friday, Trump gives himself a fiscal spending record no different from President Barack Obama’s or President George W. Bush’s.
The deal completely ignores the spending caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. For that matter, the agreement pretty much finishes off the entire BCA and any chance of another sequestration being triggered.
Under the deal, the Pentagon’s budget increases by $22 billion. Republicans have gotten the $738 billion they requested in defense spending. The Democrats only conceded to that increase because they too got all they asked for on the domestic spending side. The additional $27 billion will increase nondefense spending to $632 billion in 2020. (And that doesn’t include the annual increases in Medicare and Medicaid.)
We find it incredible that spending nonexistent money seems to be the only thing this fiscally irresponsible Congress can agree on. Americans are tired of lawmakers wasting countless hours on Robert Mueller’s testimony and the nonstop hearings, all a spectacle of an investigation that has yet to achieve anything and is costing Americans somewhere between $25 million and $35 million.
When the Senate joined the House on a monthlong recess at the end of the week, everyone could leave happy, because everyone got what they wanted—except of course, tomorrow’s taxpayers. They’re getting the shaft.
—Adapted from The Richmond Times–Dispatch