Winners and Losers of the Budget Deal

Image via rollcall.com

The mark of a good deal is both sides feeling mildly dissatisfied.

After months of disagreement, politicians on Capitol Hill finally came to an agreement on a $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill to keep the government funded until September.  The bill is the epitome of a compromise, as both sides were able to get funding for several things they wanted. However, key parts of each party’s agenda did not make it into the bill.  

Some notable highlights include::

  • A $12.5 billion increase in military spending (though not as much as Republicans wanted, still probably their biggest win)
  • A $1.5 billion increase for border security
  • An $8.1 billion increase in emergency funding, which includes $407 million for wildfire relief, $100 million to fight opioid epidemics in several states, and various infrastructure grants
  • A $295 million subsidy for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program (biggest win for Democrats)
  • A $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institute of Health

And some notable exclusions:

  • Planned Parenthood will receive no decrease in federal funding (perhaps the most surprising part considering the previous attention given to this during the presidential campaign)
  • While Republicans were able to get border security funding, there will be no funding for the proposed border wall until at least September
  • Democrats were unable to get funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments
  • Sanctuary cities will not be defunded and Obama’s executive orders on the enforcement of immigration laws will remain in place for now

While Democrats and moderate Republicans both see the budget resolution as a win for their side, many conservative figures have expressed disappointment. Mark Levin was especially critical saying, “The system will collapse one day” and “we averted nothing.” Ben Shapiro described the deal as a “surrender” and Rush Limbaugh said it was a “win” for Democrats.

Although both sides acknowledge the bill’s shortcomings, most leaders in Capitol Hill seem satisfied.  Vice President Mike Pence called the compromise “a clear win for the American people.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a show of bipartisanship, echoed Pence’s enthusiasm and stated: “This is a good agreement for the American people and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table.”  

Conservatives and liberals alike will remain apprehensive about the allocation of government money until at least September, when the fiscal year ends and Congress will again be called upon to come up with a long-term budget agreement. The American Healthcare Act, the Republican bill that ‘replaces’ the Affordable Care Act, combined with the tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration, could improve the current budget dynamic. But as congressional Democrats stand ready to fight this agenda, the future of government spending could remain up in the air.  

Alex studies Physics: Quantitative Finance at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. He is from San Antonio, Texas but currently resides in Augusta, Georgia. Alex writes about American politics, often from a conservative perspective.

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