President Trump struck a deal with Democrat minority leaders Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., amending a $7.85 billion emergency spending measure intended to provide badly needed aide for Hurricane Harvey victims to include a short-term suspension of the debt ceiling until December 8. This permits the U.S. Treasury to borrow an unlimited amount of money during this time frame.
The idea of exploiting the suffering of Hurricane Harvey victims as political leverage to push through a clean debt ceiling increase was originally hatched by GOP leadership. The only difference between the GOP leadership's plan and the final deal reached between President Trump, House Minority Leader Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer was the time frame for suspending the debt limit.
In addition to suspending the statutory limit on the national debt, the bill provides for $7.4 billion in emergency funding for FEMA, $450 million for the Small Business Authority, and an additional $7.4 billion for Community Development Block Grant, historically regarded as pork barrel spending because funds aren’t used for immediate relief.
Elected officials supporting this debt ceiling increase have no idea of the amount of debt they are approving, because the increase was affixed to a date rather than a number. This bill amounts to a blank check to increase the nation’s $19.9 trillion national debt without securing spending cuts to offset the emergency hurricane relief package.
Furthermore, the bill extends government funding at the current Obama-era spending levels through December 8, 2017, and extends other government programs like the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that were set to expire.
In short, the Republican-controlled government passed a budget funding all of the Democrat spending levels and policy priorities, such as sanctuary cities, Planned Parenthood, and refugee resettlement, but failed to fund the border wall the president promised.
The bill was approved by the Senate 80-17 on September 7, 2017, and the House of Representatives approved the bill with majority Democratic support 316-90 on September 8, 2017.
To see how your elected officials stack up or other votes that compose the Liberty Score, view our full scorecard here.
Conservative position: NO