House approves two-year bipartisan budget and debt deal

Moving to avoid legislative gridlock which could lead to over $120 billion in automatic budget cuts, the House on Thursday voted to approve a two-year budget agreement worked out between Congress and the White House, continuing a pattern of increased spending and deficits under the Trump Administration.

"I'll be honest, this is not a perfect deal," said Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), as GOP lawmakers grumbled over the increase of $320 billion over two years in discretionary spending for defense and non-defense programs, plus provisions which suspend the debt limit for two years.

"Not having an agreement is simply not an option," said Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), as only 64 Republicans voted for the bill.

Before the vote, President Donald Trump urged Republicans to back the plan, focusing on higher spending for defense.

"House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets. I am totally with you!" the President tweeted.

But the plan was opposed by an array of GOP conservatives who thought the bill spent too much, more liberal Democrats who objected to higher spending levels for defense, and by outside budget groups which argue Washington has given up on reining in the federal deficit.

House Democrats ended up supplying most of the votes for the budget deal, which was the culmination of weeks of talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“We are taking action to avoid another government shutdown, which is so harmful to meeting the needs of the American people,” Pelosi said on the House floor.

"This agreement is not perfect," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). "Congress's top responsibility is to keep the ship of state running."

The plan now goes to the Senate, where a vote is expected next week, before Senators leave on an extended summer break.

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