The Senate passed a two-year budget agreement on Thursday, 67-28, sending the bipartisan legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk.
The agreement includes a suspension of the debt ceiling until after the November 2020 elections.
Despite Trump’s stated support for the deal and his previous urging, 23 of the 53 Republicans in the Senate voted against the deal. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT) also voted nay.
The common refrain from those Republicans voting no on Thursday was that, while they liked the bill’s increases in defense spending, they were concerned that it did not do enough to address the Trump administration’s all-time record budget deficit and national debt.
But a large reason for the nation’s projected trillion dollar annual deficit in 2019 is that two years ago, the Republican Congress passed the so-called “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” a massive tax cut that mostly benefited the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Though the bill’s supporters claimed it would pay for itself with economic growth, even its main author now admits that was not true. As Trump repeatedly touts the greatest economy ever, revenues are down since its enactment. The cost of the tax cuts is estimated to be in the trillions over a decade.
The senators voting against the budget deal on Thursday after previously backing the tax cuts included Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Bill Cassidy, (R-LA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
All 18 of of those who were in the Senate at the time voted for the tax bill in December 2017. Blackburn, then a representative in the lower chamber of Congress, voted for the identical bill in the House. While Braun, Hawley, Romney, and Rick Scott were not yet in Congress when the vote happened, all four backed the bill publicly.
Paul called Thursday’s budget vote a “litmus test for fiscal conservatism.”
Today's vote was a litmus test for fiscal conservatism. Those senators who voted for an unlimited increase in the debt ceiling are not and have no right to call themselves conservatives. So America wake up and watch the votes today. pic.twitter.com/Rwn7dKxuqT
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 1, 2019
Toomey lamented the nation’s “unsustainable fiscal path.”
My statement on today's budget vote: pic.twitter.com/J3CnbFrhuJ
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) August 1, 2019
Rick Scott promised a “day of reckoning” amid “trillion dollar deficits.”
We have got to figure out how to live within our means, & this deal does just the opposite.
We can’t keep running trillion dollar deficits. There will be a day of reckoning and future generations will pay the price if we stay on this path. pic.twitter.com/adAyo6ShIy
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) August 1, 2019
Blackburn said she “cannot in good conscience support legislation that funds the government at the expense of adding to our national debt.”
My statement on the Budget Vote ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/WJVDLFSisN
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) August 1, 2019
Blackburn voted just last week to fund a the 9/11 victims compensation fund while adding to the national debt.