Conservative groups decry budget deal following Senate passage

Conservative groups decry budget deal following Senate passage
© Aaron Schwartz

Conservative groups called the budget and debt ceiling agreement the Senate passed in a 67-28 vote Thursday morning an irresponsible move that would saddle the nation with unsustainable debt. 

The groups called out conservative leaders in Congress for allowing the deal.

“This is another dark day for fiscal conservatism and the future of our nation’s fiscal sustainability,” said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks vice president of legislative affairs.

“Leader McConnell’s (R-Ky.) decision to move forward with this bill severely damages the GOP’s credibility as a whole,” Pye said. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Fox's Wallace says 'well-connected' Republican told him there's a 20 percent chance GOP will vote for impeachment White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE (R-Ky.) kept himself at arm’s length from the deal, referring to it as the “Administration-Pelosi” deal, but managed to whip a majority of his caucus to vote for it.

In the final tally, 30 Republicans voted for the agreement, and 23 voted against it.

Americans for Prosperity urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE to veto the deal.

“President Trump should keep his promise to the American people and veto the bill. Congress and the White House need to go back to the drawing board until they come up with something that breaks the cycle of budgeting by crisis and reins in out-of-control spending,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips.

But Trump publicly gave the deal his blessing, both ahead Wednesday’s Senate vote and last week’s House vote, in which only a third of Republicans supported the bipartisan deal.

“Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT!” he Tweeted.

Trump is also unlikely to backtrack on the deal because it lifts the debt ceiling for two years, a key administration goal.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTop economic adviser warned Trump on reelection chances ahead of China truce: report The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE warned that without action, the government would run out of money and could default on its debts before Congress returns from its recess in early September.

A default could cause a catastrophic financial crisis, and a sudden veto of the bill would send Congress scrambling for an alternative, and markets plunging.

Other groups were more reticent to call out GOP leadership.

“Instead of capitalizing on this historic growth and using it as a chance to rein in out-of-control spending and balance the budget, Washington continues to swipe the national credit card and stick future generations with the bill,” said Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James.

Republicans supporting the deal pointed to its increase in military spending and the debt ceiling as reason enough to support the agreement.

The deal is expected to add $320 billion to the deficit over the next two years, and $1.7 trillion over the next decade. Those figures are in comparison to severe scheduled budget cuts that were slated to go into effect. In comparison to current spending, the deal adds some $50 billion for 2020.

“Going forward, neither side can claim a mantle of responsible governing, and few have any moral ground to stand on — this is a bipartisan failure,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan budget watchdog.

Since Trump took office, MacGuineas said, new legislation will have added $4.1 trillion to the debt and annual deficits have doubles.

The higher debt load will mean that an increasingly large portion of annual spending will be devoted to interest payments, and that the government will have fewer fiscal tools to combat the next economic downturn.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that debt is on an "unsustainable" path.