On Thursday, the House passed a package that includes costs of $1.6 billion to start building Trump’s border wall. The bill also focuses on increased military spending that surges past the $72 billion cap established by the Budget Control Act in 2011.
The Bill Is Meant to Boost Defense
The $790 billion spending bill passed by a vote of 235-192. Five Democrats voted for the bill while five Republicans voted against. However, House Republicans were very pleased with the proposal as it contains spending bills for the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Department of Energy and other legislative branch operations.
However, the inclusion of the U.S – Mexico Border Wall increased the likelihood the bill would have any chance in the Senate. It is possible that Senate Democrats will block the package.
The Border Wall was one of Trump’s main promises during his campaign. However, both Republicans and Democrats opposed the proposal saying that is impractical. It is interesting to notice that the addition of the border wall costs in the overall package saved the proposal from being submitted to voting on its own. Also, Trump’s promise that Mexico will be paying the wall fell short as well. Apart from Mexico repeatedly denying it will ever do so, the package would cost American taxpayers.
House Speaker Paul Ryan stressed that the package is focusing on defense:
This legislation funds the most critical functions of government. It secures our borders by providing funding for a wall on our southern border. It gives our service members a raise and ensures they have the tools they need to complete their missions. Additionally, the legislation takes care of our veterans here at home who have kept us safe.
Still No Budget
The Republican’s agenda is still far behind. The Republican caucus still hasn’t released the budget resolution, which would have come first, before any spending packages. Moreover, the spending package that passed on Thursday includes only 4 of the 12 spending bills. So, by the time the August recess ends, Republicans will have to vote on the budget resolution, deal with the remaining eight spending bills, and pass tax reform.
Congress has until October to come up with a solution to keep the government funded.
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