The bipartisan congressional leadership and White House reached a two-year budget deal on Monday, seemingly averting another government shutdown and preventing a default on the national debt that has grown to an all-time high under President Donald Trump.
But despite previously backing the 2017 tax cuts for the rich that have helped fuel the largest monthly budget deficits in American history, several self-styled deficit hawks in Congress are now signaling their opposition based on claims of fiscal conservationism.
The deal — which Trump praised on Twitter as “a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!” — will provide more than $1.3 trillion for agency spending for each of the next two years and suspend the nation’s debt limit until after the election. This will prevent the government from defaulting on its debt payments for the first time in history and avert some of the spending cuts agreed to in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
In 2017, the Republican Congress passed Trump’s “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” slashing tax rates for the richest Americans and corporations. Proponents falsely claimed that these revenue cuts would pay for themselves in economic growth, but even they now admit that that was a lie. Despite what Trump frequently hails as the greatest economy ever, tax receipts are down as a result of the law and the budget deficit is predicted to hit $1 trillion in 2019.
Several conservative lawmakers who backed these tax cuts angrily denounced the bipartisan agreement, objecting to the increased deficits that they helped create.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) voted for the tax cut bill. But now that the bill is due for this unfunded giveaway, he does not want to authorize payments. “The debt ceiling is here again. Our credit card is maxed out,” he complained.
The debt ceiling is here again. Our credit card is maxed out. What this budget deal does is ask the credit card company for another $320 billion in credit NOW for the chance to get paid back $75 billion in a decade. No bank would take that. American taxpayers shouldn’t either.
— Rep. Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) July 23, 2019
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, also voted for the 2017 cuts. He released a statement on Monday saying, “As conservatives, it is our responsibility to provide fiscally sound solutions that will ensure the continued security and prosperity of our great nation.” He said that the nation “simply cannot afford” the deal and that the “two-year suspension on the debt limit simply adds fuel to the fire.”
— Juliegrace Brufke (@juliegraceb) July 23, 2019
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who also voted for the tax cuts, called the deal “reckless,” while mocking the left for wanting more in taxes on the rich.
I will be posting the roll call for the vote to increase the debt limit. Voting to increase the debt limit without voting for a plan to reduce the deficit is reckless.
Cue the left: “tax the rich more!”
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) July 23, 2019
Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who backed the tax cuts in 2017 when he was a Republican member of Congress, complained that the agreement meant “More spending. More debt. More failure of representation.”
More spending. More debt. More failure of representation. This “deal” reflects our broken process. A few “leaders” dictate terms to everyone else. They don’t care how bad the “deal” is for America, as long as they maintain power. They then bribe and punish others to get it done. https://t.co/v6URi8T7x6
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 22, 2019
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), who also voted for the 2017 tax cuts, complained that the addition of “as much as $2 trillion to the national debt over the next decade” would “bankrupt America.”
“…increase current spending caps by $320 billion over the next two years, …equally split [w/] domestic programs & military… the budget could add as much as $2 trillion to the national debt over the next decade…”
NO! Don’t bankrupt America! https://t.co/aZo1rjsgP5
— Warren Davidson (@WarrenDavidson) July 23, 2019
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) was not in Congress in 2017 but ran last year on a promise to make the Trump tax cuts permanent. Still, he vowed to oppose the “so-called ‘deal'” as it amounted to “mortgaging our future national & economic security.”
I will vote no on this so-called “deal.” The GOP is now, in the name of “defense spending,” mortgaging our future national & economic security. But worse, unlimited bipartisan government spending risks losing our character & sense of self-reliance as a nation. #RejectSpendingDeal https://t.co/B6oEa0yDnV
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) July 23, 2019
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who was elected in 2018 on his support for making the tax cuts permanent, told CNBC on Tuesday morning that the bill was his “worst fear.”
Asked about his hypocrisy in supporting the tax cuts that helped cause the record deficits, he deflected saying that it was “much closer to revenue neutral than” the $1.5 trillion projections from his party’s handpicked economists. He said he was “amassing information that will make that point.”
Monday’s two-year proposal was agreed to by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
In his press release announcing the compromise, McConnell praised the bill as the “Administration-Pelosi budget deal.” But while Trump signaled his support for the bill, he has in the past agreed to spending deals and later changed his mind.