WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump said on Monday (July 22) that a “compromise” bipartisan budget agreement has been reached that will boost federal spending by billions of dollars and suspend the debt limit beyond the next presidential election.
Trump tweeted that the deal was struck between the White House and the top Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress “on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills”, which could have otherwise derailed the legislation.
The agreement raises the discretionary spending caps for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, pairing it with a suspension of the statutory debt ceiling until the end of July 2021, nearly nine months after the 2020 election.
“This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!” Trump added.
The agreement has faced resistance from conservative Republicans who oppose adding hundreds of billions of dollars in additional spending to the US debt.
Democratic leaders hailed it as a victory for securing robust funding for critical domestic priorities, describing the deal as the largest-ever increase in base funding above the so-called sequestration levels set forth in a 2011 law.
“With this agreement, we strive to avoid another government shutdown, which is so harmful to meeting the needs of the American people and honouring the work of our public employees,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.
The deal assures that Washington remains on a borrowing binge, as it raises the spending caps by some US$320 billion (S$435 billion), a significant setback for the White House’s stated goal of reining in expenditures.
The agreement includes roughly US$75 billion in spending increase offsets, substantially less than Trump’s administration had sought.
Pelosi had been negotiating the deal with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and the pair were racing against the clock to wrap it up by Friday, when the House of Representatives goes on a six-week recess.
Mnuchin warned last week that, barring an agreement, the government could run out of money in early September – before Congress reconvenes.
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