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President Trump and top congressional Democrats have agreed to a new two-year budget deal that will raise spending on both domestic and military programs and suspend debt ceiling limits until after the 2020 election. Lisa Desjardins joins Amna Nawaz to discuss the numbers, how the agreement still adds to a “long-term problem” and whether it represents signs of bipartisanship for the future.
Well, it is often easier to spend money than it is to save it. And that seems to be at the heart of a new two-year budget deal crafted by the White House and top congressional Democrats.
In a nutshell, spending on both domestic and military programs will go up, and debt ceiling limits are suspended until after the 2020 election.
Our own Lisa Desjardins, as always, is here to break it all down for us.
Lisa, there's a lot in here.
Break it down for us. What's in the deal? What's not?
OK. Let's start with the big numbers.
First of all, Amna, this does raise the debt ceiling for two years. That's one fiscal crisis averred for now. That's good.
Also, right now, in the law, there were out 10 percent budget cuts that were going to hit most of government, the military and non-military alike. This deal removes those budget cuts altogether.
Let me show you what it does instead. Let's look at current spending right now broken down by defense and non-defense, defense, a little bit more spending now. Here is what this budget deal does. It increases both of those just a little bit. But that matters, Amna, because right now we are in a time of deficits.
So, what this is a deal, so that Republicans get more money for defense, Democrats get more money for non-defense. But it does add a lot of red ink to the picture for everyone. It does mean a shutdown in September is less likely, but it is still possible.
So not totally averted.
Not totally averted.
But less likely. OK. There's a lot of numbers in there.
Remind us, why does all of this matter?
I'm so excited to talk about this.
Because spending, everyone thinks it's so nerdy, but this is one of the main ways that government touches people and affects the contours of this nation.
Just a few example here, for example, the military needs these two-year budget guidelines to have stability and plans, the same for most agencies. This could likely mean perhaps a pay raise for military and other members of the government staff.
This is also one of the largest spending bills in the history of our country. And, Amna, on the other side, it could add about $1.7 trillion — with a T — dollars to the debt, which is now at a record $22 trillion.
So, basically, Congress is sort of making a very easy short-term decision, adding to a long-term problem.
Lisa, you reported on these before.
It's worth noting the budget battles have previously brought the government to a standstill.
That didn't happen. So, is this a sign of like a new era of bipartisanship in Washington?
I would love to say yes.
There is some hope, and I will get to that. But, in one sense, I don't think this was any compromise, because both parties just gave each other more money. You get $100 billion, you get $100 billion. It was more collaboration than compromise.
There is some hope, however, Amna, in the fact that Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker, somehow quietly found a way, without drama, to steer a major deal not just through Congress, but to get the president on board without wavering.
And that has been elusive for everyone, including the White House. That's a big deal, that Mnuchin figured out how to get the president on this deal with no questions. That is hope for the future.
And we will take that as a sign of hope.
That is the one big takeaway.
Lisa Desjardins, thank you so much.
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