Why Democrats Are Delighted With The Republican Spending Bill

Why were Democrats unable to hide their enthusiasm for the latest Omnibus spending bill proposed by House Republicans? Simple: because, as the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein writes, "Dems basically got everything. It's like they control House, Senate, & WH rather than the other way around."

Some big picture details:

  • Deal totals just over $1 trillion
  • Deal allows for an increase of $12.5bn in defense spending, which is 18bn less than Trump requested. However, if Trump makes strides with Isis, an addition 2.5bn will be made available.
  • Includes permanent fix to fund coal miners' health care instead of a temporary extension.
  • Democrats win: There will be no wall funding; instead Trump will get $1.5bn in border security funds, which is half the original request; it will be used to support existing infrastructure.
  • Democrats win again: Puerto Rico will receive an emergency injection for Medicaid health insurance supports
  • Democrats win again2: Planned Parenthood, a key issue for Democrats, will be saved from cuts, while the National Institute of Health will see a $2bn hike in funding.
  • Democrats win again3: Cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency appear avoided for the remainder of the year.
  • Democrats win again4: The omnibus funds California high speed rail

Additionally as Bloomberg adds, "Republicans failed to get a number of conservative provisions in the bill, including one that would have blocked the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule limiting financial advice to retirees."

Also snuck inbetween the cracks there’s also a new $100 million fund to counter Russian influence in Europe.

The deal also includes a 2% increase for national parks, including nearly $40 million in new funding to address deferred maintenance and construction needs. More than 70 anti-environmental policy riders in the bill were defeated.

Amusingly, the package would provide $68 million extra in local law enforcement funds to reimburse New York City and other localities for protecting Trump.

Democrats, predictably, loved the spending bill which is sure to add hundreds of billions to the US deficit: “This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday night in a statement. “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education, and infrastructure.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also praised the deal, saying that Democrats won the removal of about 160 partisan riders. “The bill also increases funding for wildfire and federal highway emergency relief, and for Puerto Rico’s underfunded Medicaid program," she said in a statement. Under the tentative deal, the island would get some relief with $295 million in unspent money for territories for a limited time, said a congressional aide.

As expected, Republicans were just as eager to cover up the fact that they rolled over:  "We couldn't be more pleased," Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview on CBS "This Morning." He called the deal "a bipartisan win for the American people" that included funding for a significant increase in military spending and a down payment on border security.

"We have boosted resources for our defense needs without corresponding increases in non-defense spending," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. He said the measure will make the U.S. "stronger and safer."

But not all: Republican Representative Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was quoted by Reuters saying he and other conservatives likely would not back the measure because it does not fulfill their promises to voters. "I'm disappointed," Jordan told CNN. "We'll see how it plays out this week but I think you're going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation."

Bloomberg's summary:

Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one. The National Institutes of Health, for example, would see a $2 billion boost, reflecting the popularity of medical research among lawmakers. The deal includes $990 million for famine aid, along with a $1.1 billion boost for disaster recovery funds.

The House Rules Committee has scheduled a hearing for 3 p.m. Tuesday to consider advancing the bill, including setting procedures for a floor vote. That said, there does remain a chance for a government shutdown in October. Trump has sought $54 billion in defense increases paired with $54 billion in domestic cuts. Republican leaders may be less willing to bow to Democrats without the excuse of being more than halfway through the fiscal year.

Finally, as Bloomberg adds, Congress and the president will also need to agree on a debt ceiling increase in the fall, and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has said he wants to use the debt ceiling to impose new spending restraints.