Trump signs two-year budget deal to boost spending


US President Donald Trump on Friday signed the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019,” which boosts discretionary spending limits and suspends the public debt limit for the next two years.

The budget deal, reached between the President and congressional leaders earlier, was passed 67-28 in the US Senate on Thursday, and was approved by the House by 284-149 last week, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The deal suspends the federal debt ceiling until July 31, 2021, and raise overall spending levels by $320 billion above the limits set in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which established strict spending caps and stipulated automatic across-the-board spending cuts.

It will lift the budget cap for discretionary spending to $1.37 trillion in 2020 and $1.375 trillion in 2021, expanding defense outlays, demanded by Republicans, and boosting domestic spending, including health care for veterans, sought by Democrats.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group, lashed out at lawmakers in a statement Thursday, saying the Senate vote “caps a shameful period of fiscal recklessness in Washington that is unprecedented in the context of our current fiscal state.”

Congress and the President have added $4.1 trillion to the debt since President Trump took office, MacGuineas said. “As a result, deficits are more than double what they would have been without fiscally irresponsible tax cuts and spending increases.”

The White House has projected a 1-trillion-dollar budget deficit for the fiscal year 2019, the highest since 2012, Office of Management and Budget said in its recently released Mid-Session Review.

The debt ceiling was previously set at $20.5 trillion and expired on March 1 this year. Since then, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has urged congressional leaders to raise the federal debt limit as the Treasury Department began accounting maneuvers to avoid a default.