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Schumer: Deal is sprout of bipartisanship

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that the Senate has reached a new bipartisan budget deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 10:48 AM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 10:48 AM

Once the party of fiscal discipline, Republicans are learning under President Donald Trump that spending money is much easier in Washington than cutting back.

Less than two months after their $1 trillion tax cut, the House will vote on a spending bill Thursday that raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offers up more than $80 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

It's a scenario that would have been unimaginable just eight years ago, when Republicans routinely bludgeoned President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package, held the line on debt ceiling increases and took back the House of Representatives on a tea-party-fueled message of fiscal austerity.

In the era of Trump, a real estate mogul and self-proclaimed "King of Debt," the Republican Party has eased into a cycle of big spending it once abhorred.

It's a symptom of both an evolving economic climate and the political realities that governing parties face. While the GOP controls all three branches of government, it still must depend on Democratic votes to overcome a Senate filibuster, and they wouldn't agree to spend more on the military without boosting domestic programs as well.

It also shows the White House's willingness to deal, despite the President raising the specter of a government shutdown just two days ago.

In the end, that meant more money for everyone.

A "Christmas tree on steroids," said conservative Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, a critic of the deal.

RELATED: Here's what's in the budget deal

"Adding to the deficit is a real concern, and that was voiced very loudly in our conference," said former House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky. "However, with a desperate need to add additional needs to defense and then the necessary Democrats' demand that we also increase non-defense domestic spending, it was apparent that we had to do that."

Thursday, Republicans are expected to be divided on the plan before them. If the bill passes it will be because enough Republicans and Democrats in the middle are willing to come together and swallow something both sides admit is less than optimal for them.

But after months of careering from one budget crisis to the next, lawmakers say it's time to put an end to the impasse.

Moderate Republicans, appropriators and defense hawks argue the deal is a good one that clears the legislative deck, keeps the government funded and gives the military much-needed financial certainty despite the fact that it increases spending in a major way. And it avoids future continuing resolutions, or CRs, those short-term spending bills detested by both parties.

"I've been yapping about this since April of last year, that we needed this bipartisan, bicameral deal. Now that we have it we need to support it," said Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican. "It will get us off of this treadmill of CRs and out of these circular firing squad discussions, this hell that we've been going through over the CRs for months now."

Democrats aren't all happy about the deal either, especially in the House, where liberals wanted to address immigration as part of the agreement. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California gave an eight-hour speech on the House floor -- a record -- decrying the lack of a resolution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

RELATED: House Democrats face choice over budget deal

Getting things done may also help the Republicans next fall. Trump's approval ratings have ticked upward since he signed the tax cuts in December, and this deal can allow the White House and GOP leaders to tout the military spending and promote the idea they can get things done.

"The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military. It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great," the President tweeted. "Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!"

Conservatives not happy

Conservatives blasted the deal as little more than a blank check and an abandonment of the party's core principles.

"This is not what we were elected to do and you are going to see the vast, vast majority of Freedom Caucus members voting against it and a lot of other members as well," warned Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who's a leader in the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who's the Freedom Caucus' chairman, said he doesn't believe many caucus members will support the bill.

Even Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee who backs increased defense funding, said he thought the deal went too far.

"I'm discouraged," Corker said.

But defense hawks say the conservatives need to realize this is what governing looks like.

"They are always the problem children," Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama lamented of the Freedom Caucus. "Some of them want attention and some of them are just knuckleheads, but this is the same exercise we go through every time. ... They have to have their tummies rubbed and have to have a lot of attention from folks like you, and they want the President to come over and hug on them a little bit, and some of them will eventually come around."

During a closed-door meeting Wednesday, New York Republican Rep. Peter King said House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged the GOP had made concessions, but told his colleagues it was the best deal he could get.

King sidestepped conservative blowback to the deal, saying, "look at the big picture: as long as there are 60 votes in the Senate I think this is very best deal we can get."

Tax plan must produce growth

Most Republicans say they can rationalize the increase in spending, arguing that the tax bill will generate economic growth they believe will more than cover the cost of their plan, a fact that remains to be seen and has been disputed by economists.

"It all comes down to one thing, economic growth. That tax plan has got to produce economic growth," said Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican from Florida.

Others argue that the military needs of the moment outweigh any high-minded commitment to fiscal austerity.

"It's more than I like, obviously. But, the exigencies of the moment demand that," Hal Rogers said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1731003

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1803711843
Cuyahoga1698662655
Hamilton1144371544
Montgomery810251405
Summit726231210
Lucas636141027
Butler57225814
Stark543091183
Lorain42754645
Warren36183417
Mahoning36035788
Lake32696501
Clermont31523369
Trumbull27614620
Delaware27394185
Licking26829344
Medina26290353
Fairfield24812287
Greene24540373
Clark22327390
Portage21504283
Richland21257342
Wood20300248
Allen19119326
Miami17456352
Columbiana17014335
Muskingum16873207
Wayne15873307
Tuscarawas14579362
Marion13440196
Ashtabula12927237
Erie12790199
Scioto12556188
Pickaway12308155
Ross11780226
Hancock11623175
Geauga11042179
Lawrence10698172
Belmont10509234
Huron9867159
Jefferson9687228
Union963775
Sandusky9428166
Seneca8993161
Knox8869176
Washington8714159
Darke8435181
Athens841897
Ashland8102152
Auglaize8018120
Shelby7551135
Defiance7418117
Crawford7356150
Fulton7262113
Brown7217116
Logan7061111
Guernsey700586
Mercer6959100
Highland6807120
Clinton6547106
Williams653899
Madison652590
Preble6334140
Putnam6288122
Champaign585187
Jackson584597
Perry570579
Ottawa5689102
Coshocton5688108
Morrow521765
Fayette497272
Hardin4947100
Gallia474278
Van Wert469395
Pike467678
Adams4619110
Henry439280
Hocking412493
Holmes4035141
Wyandot379275
Carroll371178
Paulding326351
Meigs307561
Monroe236861
Noble221549
Morgan219039
Harrison215253
Vinton189138
Unassigned06
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Colder air continues to filter into the region, and we will experience the coldest day since February 2021.
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