Kelly, Thompson split on Trump-backed budget plan that suspends debt ceiling
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A long-term budget deal is one step closer to reality in Washington.
The U.S. House passed the spending plan Thursday evening. But our local representatives are split on the move, that increases government spending.
The two-year deal does two things: boosts military and domestic spending, but it also suspends the debt ceiling through July 2021.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly voted against the bill, fearing it could lead to additional runaway spending.
“Right now, where we are, this is a dangerous situation we’re in,” Kelly said of the national debt.
Like Kelly, the majority of Republicans voted against the budget plan despite pleas from President Donald Trump to back it. The final vote was 284-149 in favor of the bill. U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, one of just 65 House Republicans to support it.
“I think the first responsibility of any government at any level is the safety and security of our nation and our people,” Thompson said noting the boost in military spending that is scheduled to reach $738 billion in fiscal year 2020 and approximately $740.5 billion in FY2021.
The deal doesn’t completely avoid another government shutdown, which could happen this fall as Congress still needs to approve several individual appropriations bills by October. But suspending the debt ceiling will certainly help the cause.
The concern for fiscal conservatives and budget hawks: the growing budget deficit and the national debt, now more than $22 trillion. This bipartisan budget deal could add an additional $1.7 trillion to the national debt.
“I think one of the most irresponsible things is to say that nobody is responsible for any of this spending, just spend what you need,” Kelly said.
Lifting the next ceiling for the next two years essentially means Congress is not limited on how much it can borrow. While the debt concerns Thompson, he supports this package because it avoids what would have been the nation’s first-ever default.
“I do think when it comes to the debt ceiling that we have to get the debt under control,” Thompson said. “But that means doing something about mandatory spending.”
The budget plan will now head to the U.S. Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he also expects to get bipartisan support.