Majority of Senate Republicans vote to send budget ‘monstrosity’ to President Trump’s desk

· August 1, 2019  
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McConnell and GOP leaders
Win McNamee | Getty Images

A budget agreement that suspends the debt ceiling for two years, raises federal spending limits, and sets America up to add another $2 trillion to the national debt is on its way to President Donald Trump for signature after passing the Senate by a vote of 67-28.

A final vote on the bill was originally expected on Wednesday, but was pushed to Thursday afternoon amid questions about whether or not Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership team would be able to get more than half of Senate Republicans behind the bill. House Republicans voted against the measure by a ratio of 2 to 1 the week before.

Twenty-three Republicans voted against the bill, fewer than half of the 53-member conference. Of the 67 who voted in favor, therefore, only 30 were Republicans, meaning that the bill passed with more Democrat support.

Five Democrats voted against the measure: John Tester, Mont.; Joe Manchin, W.V.; Amy Klobuchar, Minn.; Michael Bennet, Colo.; and Tom Carper, Md.

In a Tuesday statement against the legislation, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the legislation “isn’t only a betrayal of conservatism but an example of government at its worst,” citing the fact that the bill was written behind closed doors.

“This budget deal is yet another missed opportunity to rein in excessive government spending,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said after the vote. “Instead of running up bills we can’t pay, we should be fighting for the American people’s commonsense priorities such as securing our southern border, cutting taxes, and reducing regulations.”

Supporters of the deal, however, have touted it as a compromise reached by a divided government to avoid a potential default or shutdown.

“One of our most important jobs as members of Congress is delivering the resources to fund our government, provide certainty and support for our military and our veterans, and ensure economic stability for American families,” Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito, R-W.V., said in a statement. This agreement puts us on the path to accomplish all of those goals.”

Before the final vote on Thursday, the Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have raised the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts by a vote of 23-70. Paul announced the vote the day before in a floor speech where he lambasted both parties for putting the budget deal together and called the legislation “a monstrosity” and “an abomination.” During the Wednesday speech, he also decried Republicans who he predicted would vote for his bill as political cover before supporting final passage of the agreement.

The vote was one of the last few remaining items of Senate business to wrap up before members of the upper chamber depart for this year’s five-week summer break.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct “more than half” to “fewer than half” in the third paragraph.


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.