Three Key Numbers in Congress' Budget Compromise - Pacific Standard

Three Key Numbers in Congress' Budget Compromise

Here's what you need to know about the big bipartisan spending package Congress just passed.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell returns to the U.S. Capitol just before midnight on February 8th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell returns to the U.S. Capitol just before midnight on February 8th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Congress passed a massive piece of legislation that both funds the government and sets government spending levels through 2019. The agreement brings to an end the recent merry-go-round of continuing resolutions and looming threats of shutdowns. The budget compromise was negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), both of whom have touted the agreement as a rare genuine bipartisan compromise.

"The budget deal doesn't have everything Democrats want. It doesn't have everything the Republicans want," Schumer said. "But it has a great deal of what the American people want."

The budget was then signed by President Donald Trump, who later tweeted:

In addition to lifting the caps on defense and non-defense spending, the legislation also suspends the debt ceiling, averting a potentially damaging and dramatic showdown next month, and includes disaster relief funding for areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires.

Below, three key figures of the new budget deal:

  • $300,000,000,000–$400,000,000,000: The amount of additional federal spending over the next two years authorized under this budget (as opposed to current levels). This includes a $165 billion hike for defense spending over the next two years (more than the president's budget request), a $130 billion hike for non-defense domestic spending, and nearly $90 billion in additional funds for disaster relief in states hit by hurricanes and wildfires. The legislation extends funding for the Children's Health Insurance program for an additional four years (in addition to the six years it was extended for back in January), funds community health centers for another two years, includes $6 billion of funding for the opioid crisis, and includes $20 billion of funding for infrastructure.
  • $1,150,000,000,000: The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that, if the budget compromise becomes law, the federal deficit in 2019 will reach $1.15 trillion, up from $439 billion in 2015. The legislation also includes a provision that suspends the U.S. debt ceiling, the official limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow, through March of 2019.

    A number of fiscal hawks in the House of Representatives opposed the deal due to its effect on the deficit. Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Representative Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) labeled the bill "a debt junkie's dream."
  • 800,000: The number of Dreamers at risk of being deported if Congress doesn't pass legislation protecting recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Despite several months of insistence from Democrats that they would not vote for a long-term budget deal that doesn't include a fix for Dreamers, this legislation includes no such protections.

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