US Senate clears two-year debt, budget plan for Trump's signature

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The US Senate passed a sweeping, bipartisan fiscal plan Thursday that boosts federal spending by US$320 billion (RM 1.3 trillion) and suspends the debt ceiling for two years, beyond the next presidential election.

Ahead of Thursday's vote, top GOP Senate leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his top deputy, Sen.

In Robert Mueller's latest dispatch, he warned that Russia was actively interfering in the latest election and, yet again, McConnell has blocked more bills, leading many to argue that he's all but a Russian plant.

The bill was backed by 30 Republicans and 37 Democrats, while 23 Republicans and five Democrats voted against it.

Thursday's vote addresses a worrisome set of Washington deadlines as Trump's allies and adversaries set aside ideology in exchange for relative fiscal peace and stability.

"I am confident it is not exactly the legislation that either side of the aisle would have written if one party held the White House, the House, and had 60 votes in the Senate". The House began its recess last week.

After it passed, Mr McConnell said the legislation "ensures our federal government will not approach any kind of debt crisis in the coming weeks or months". The debt limit suspension ensures the Treasury Department will have enough cash to meet US financial obligations in early September, before lawmakers reconvene after the break. It will also essentially end the automatic spending cuts put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

"Budget Deal is phenomenal for our Great Military, our Vets, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" he tweeted.

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"The budget monstrosity, the deal, the abomination", Paul said, will have "no restraints" on spending, Paul decried, adding, "We should not spend money we don't have... Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT!".

Fiscal hawks in both the Senate and House strongly opposed the deal for not fully paying for the increased spending levels. Sen. Before Thursday's vote, several Republicans, including Texas Sen.

Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN) Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) were among the conservative Republicans that voted against the budget agreement.

"There are a lot of them who want to have the advantage of opposing it while hoping it passes", said Inhofe of Oklahoma before the vote. Paul called the move part of a spending problem in Washington, D.C., and said it binds future generations to massive levels of debt.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in defending the deal earlier, said that putting the government on a path to a balanced budget would require cuts in big-ticket programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. "We do have to be concerned with congressional inaction because things are developing so rapidly and states need help keeping up with the bad guys". "What is irresponsible is a Congress that believes they are Santa Claus and they can be everything to everyone and everything is free".

The agreement includes roughly US$75 billion (RM 311.5 billion) in spending increase offsets, substantially less than Trump's administration had sought.

Republicans were torn between supporting a White House-approved plan that eliminated caps on defense spending - a significant GOP priority - and supporting a Pelosi-approved plan that raised the debt limit and resulted in new spending for domestic programs.

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