- Senate leaders agreed to a massive two-year budget deal on Wednesday.
- Some House Democrats don’t like it because it does not include a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.
- Some House Republicans don’t like it because of its large increase in federal spending and its potential effects on the deficit and debt.
Senate leaders announced an agreement on a massive two-year bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday, but the agreement came under almost immediate fire from nearly every corner of both political parties.
Both House Republicans and Democrats bristled at the deal – for vastly different reasons – as Congress works to avert a second government shutdown in less than a month by a Friday deadline.
On the House Democratic side, members were displeased with the lack of progress on a deal to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program. The Obama-era initiative protects from deportation nearly 700,000 unauthorised immigrants who were brought to the US as minors. Trump announced he would end the program in September but gave Congress six months to pass a law to extend it.
The government shutdown last month came largely as a result of Senate Democrats’ refusal to vote for a funding bill that did not contain a DACA solution. In ending the shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to hold an open-floor debate on a DACA solution in the Senate, but there was no such commitment in the House.
On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the conference would not support the Senate budget deal until House Speaker Paul Ryan made a similar promise. Pelosi filibustered House business for over eight hours with a marathon floor speech demanding a vote on DACA.
“I don’t know when we would have another opportunity that matches today” to lock Ryan into a commitment, Pelosi said. “Why are we not given our constitutional opportunity to discuss this important issue?”
Conservatives say they’re worried about spending
Meanwhile, conservative House Republicans blasted the plan’s calls for a nearly $US300 billion increase in federal spending over the next two years, raising concerns over federal deficits.
A source close to the House Freedom Caucus, a hardline conservative group of roughly 30 members, said the group was not supportive of the deal.
“The Caucus at large is opposed,” the source told Business Insider. “We haven’t taken an official position, and a few from Florida and Texas might support begrudgingly, but none like this deal.”
As part of the deal, areas hit by natural disasters in 2017 – like Texas and Florida – would receive additional relief funding.
Rep. Mo Brooks, a Freedom Caucus member, told reporters he is a “hell no” on the Senate deal.
Rep. Mark Walker, the chair of the powerful, 154-member Republican Study Committee, also expressed distaste with the plan – while taking a dig at Pelosi.
“It is crucial our military is fully funded to protect our families and our future,” Walker tweeted. “Yet, the Budget Caps Deal is a struggle for any one with fiscal concerns. However, the longer @NancyPelosi bloviate on the House Floor against the deal – the more I’m inclined to support it.”
If there are no offsets as part of the deal, the increase in spending would result in could add roughly the same amount per year to the federal deficit as the recently passed Republican tax law, for which many GOP members voted.
Conservative political groups also lashed out at the fiscal impact of the deal. Heritage Action said the deal “is fiscally irresponsible and creates serious long-term budget challenges.”
FreedomWorks, another conservative action group, called the deal a “fiscal abomination.”
“Once again, Republicans are retreating on the Budget Control Act and returning to their profligate ways,” Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs for FreedomWorks, said in a statement. “This deal will lead to higher budget deficits, possibly putting us over $US1 trillion, and saddle future generations with more debt. No one in Congress who claims that they’re a deficit hawk or a fiscal conservative can justifiably vote for this deal.”
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