Now that the party of fiscal conservatism is in power, it’s ready to spend, spend, spend.
The budget deal that Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, and Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic minority leader reached on Wednesday would add hundreds of billions of dollars to domestic programs and military spending, blowing through the spending caps set during the Obama administration. It would also fund the government for the next two years, putting an end to fears of another government shutdown.
On domestic spending, the deal includes $6 billion for the opioid crisis and mental health, $5.8 billion for child care, $4 billion for Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinic, and $20 billion for infrastructure projects, Schumer said in a press release. It also includes disaster relief for parts of the country ravaged by natural disasters last year, with $4.9 billion specifically earmarked to fund Medicaid in Puerto Rico.
But despite the compromise, the deal isn’t hugely popular with Democrats or Republicans. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in the House, began speaking on the floor at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, urging Democrats not to support any budget without assurances that doesn’t come alongside legislation to protect the Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. (The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects those immigrants from deportation, expires on March 5.) She was still speaking as of press time.
And despite party leadership calling for conservative legislators to back it, hardline Republicans have also announced their opposition to the deal, and Rep. Mark Meadows, the chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, suggested that a number of Republicans would break rank and vote against the deal.
“This is a dead-end path that will cause great hardship to Americans,” proclaimed Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, according to the New York Times. “And if you really look at it out long term and see the cascading effects, it is going to cost a lot of Americans their lives.”
Regardless of whether it will cost any Americans their lives, it’s certainly going to take an arm and a leg. Even before Wednesday’s budget deal was reached, the U.S. government was set to borrow another $1 trillion in 2018, according to the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget.
And the budget isn’t the only thing likely to cause the deficit to balloon: the GOP tax overhaul, passed in December, is expected to add an additional $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.