WASHINGTON – Congress has approved a major budget deal, ending a brief government shutdown overnight and sending the measure to the President for his signature.
The House of Representatives voted 240-186 early Friday morning following approval in the Senate.
The GOP-controlled chamber needed help from House Democrats to clear the bill, and 73 Democratic members gave it. Sixty-seven House Republicans voted against the plan, including Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress, Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23), who posted a video message on his Youtube channel this morning explaining his decision.
“[The budget deal] is going down the path of uncontrolled spending that continues to add to our national debt,” Reed said. “This debt crisis is real. This debt crisis is why I ran for office in 2010. And why is it a crisis? Because at $21 trillion worth of national debt, if we just maintain the status quo, if we do what so many elected officials like to do and what you see in this budget agreement, it’s easy to come to a bipartisan agreement when you spend tax payer dollars. It’s hard to fix the root cause of the problem that’s causing the debt crisis and that’s to reduce or spending, reform our entitlement programs, and get our fiscal house in order.”
Reed also wanted to emphasize that his vote against the plan had nothing to do with the military spending issue.
“I support our men and women in the military. I voted for a package that fully funded them to give them the resources, training, and equipment in order to do the job successfully, but most importantly, to come home safe to their families. Just this week we did such a thing and we did it in a fiscally responsible manner. We paid for it,” Reed said, referring to the temporary spending bill the house approved earlier this week. He also added, “And now this deal that’s been negotiated doesn’t take on the hard equation of paying for it and that is why I can’t support it.”
REED’S FULL VIDEO MESSAGE
The spending bill, which lawmakers have been negotiating for months, addresses major spending issues as well as doling out disaster relief money and increasing the debt ceiling, which was set to be reached next month.
The overall deal also does not address the high-profile issue of immigration, a key sticking point for many Democrats, but it does increase spending caps by $300 billion for the Pentagon and domestic priorities, a crucial incentive for getting enough votes from both parties. It also offers more than $80 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The Senate approved the measure earlier on Friday morning. The federal government briefly shuttered for the second time in less than a month overnight. However, the effects of the shutdown are expected to be minimal given that it started and is expected to finish with Trump’s signature before most of the federal workforce arrived at work Friday morning.
After the vote succeeded in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his word to move to open an immigration debate next week.
The majority leader moved to call a vote Monday to proceed to an unrelated House bill that will serve as a vehicle for a process unlike the Senate has seen in recent memory, where senators will be able to offer a number of amendments on competing immigration proposals to see which ones will secure the 60 votes needed to advance.