Trump, Democrats override Republicans as Congress passes short-term spending bill

President Trump signed legislation shortly after Congress approved measures Friday that will release millions of dollars in disaster relief aid, fund the government and increase the debt limit for three months.

Earlier in the week, Trump successfully negotiated terms of the spending package with congressional Democrats during a private White House meeting which also included top Republicans.

Both the House and Senate’s majority leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were seeking a longer federal borrowing limit extension, while more conservative rank-and-file members asked that a debt increase be attached to decreases in federal spending.

Despite opposition from the House’s Republican Study Committee, which comprises over 150 members, as well as nearly 20 GOP senators, the bill passed overwhelming in both chambers, 316–90 and 80–17, respectively.

Specifically, the bill will provide $15.25 million in additional funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is currently assisting rescue efforts in Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey, and extend the debt ceiling deadline until Dec. 8.

Despite the legislation’s urgency, many dyed-in-the-wool Capitol Hill conservatives, including GOP members of the Texas delegation, expressed concern about the consequences of continuing to kick the proverbial can down the road.

“My fear is we set a bad precedent here, that you just load (the bill) up with other stuff,” said Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas’ 27th district, which includes Corpus Christie. “This is what’s wrong in Washington: They pile stuff together so you have to weigh the good versus the bad rather than give every issue individual consideration.”

The outrage proved to be merely a rhetorical expression for most, however, as only four Lone Star state congressmen voted against the legislation, entitled the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act, which added spending measures via amendment.

One of those Texas Republicans, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, called the bill a “uniquely bad idea”.

“I love President Trump, and I’m with him probably 90 or 95 percent of the time, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to raise the debt ceiling with $19 trillion public debt and not have any effort to change the way we spend money here in Washington,” he said.

Prior to Friday’s House vote, Trump tweeted his explanation of dealing with Democrats on must-pass legislation.

Rebuking the president a day earlier, Virginia tea party Congressman Dave Brat further complained about the lack of budgetary discipline in Washington.

“Are we doing anything on fiscal sanity? No,” he said. “And so (White House budget director) Mick (Mulvaney) came over today, the Treasury secretary came over today, and we said, ‘Do you have a plan for fiscal sanity going forward?’ No. Crickets. So that’s the frustration.”

Mulvaney explained to reporters after a separate meeting with congressional members that Trump “is a results-driven person, and right now he wants to see results on Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and tax reform.”

The president further infuriated conservative Republicans Thursday, hinting that a compromise with Democrats to end borrowing limits for the Treasury Department may be made in the near-future.

“For many years, people have been talking about getting rid of debt ceiling altogether, and there are a lot of good reasons to do that,” he told reporters. “It complicates things, it’s really not necessary.”

 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated.

 

[ABC News] [The Hill] [Washington Post] [Reuters] [AP] [Photo courtesy Breitbart]