Update: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 passed the U.S. Senate today by a 67 to 28 vote on Thursday. Iowa’s Republican U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley voted for the budget deal that has been roundly criticized as a budget buster and the abandonment of fiscal discipline.
Both Ernst and Grassley campaigned on fiscal discipline.
Ernst, on her re-election campaign website, says, “Iowans work hard for their earnings and to balance their budgets. They expect the same from Congress. Washington must be held accountable for the years of negligence, reckless spending and mismanagement.”
This bill they both agreed to suspends the debt ceiling for two years and sets discretionary spending at $1.37 Trillion in FY 2020 (and it will be even higher in FY 2021). The Congressional Budget Office projects that the federal government will have a $1 trillion deficit in 2019.
Neither senator made a public statement after the vote.
The bill now goes to President Donald Trump who supports it.
Original 7/30/19: Spokespersons for U.S. Senators Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Caffeinated Thoughts that they reviewing the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 and have not decided how they will vote.
The agreement between President Donald Trump and congressional leaders passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last week 284 to 149 last week. Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa voted no while Iowa’s Democratic U.S. Reps. Cindy Axne, Abby Finkenauer, and Dave Loebsack voted yes.
The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week.
The two-year budget agreement would raise the spending caps put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 by $322 Billion. It also suspends the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021.
The Bipartisan Budget Act increases the 10-year spending baseline by $1.7 Trillion. It also increases the national debt by five percent in 2029 to represent 97 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The current national debt stands at $22.5 Trillion.
Critics of the deal have said that the increased discretionary spending in the bill does not have legitimate offsets and call the $77.3 billion in proposed cuts “budget gimmicks” that would not see any savings until the ninth and tenth years of the budget window.
Republican proponents of the bill point to a slight defense spending to $738 billion, a 3.1 percent increase from 2018. Pro-life advocates also point out that the bill protects existing pro-life policy riders, such as the Hyde Amendment, that block taxpayer funding for abortion.