One Step Closer to a $63 Billion Spending Increase

By: Katherine Rosario
The Forge

Our nation is one step closer to a $63 billion spending increase, thanks to a group of Republican Senators who joined Senate Democrats to invoke cloture, or end debate, on the budget deal. The Washington Post reports:

A bipartisan deal to roll back sharp spending cuts known as the sequester easily cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, ensuring that the agreement will be passed and sent to President Obama in the coming days.

Senators voted 67 to 33 to end debate and proceed to final passage on the budget agreement. A final vote could come as soon as Tuesday evening if Senate Republicans agree to speed things up. Otherwise, the chamber is likely to send the measure to the White House late Wednesday.

Passage of the budget measure was secured Monday when Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.) joined fellow Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Ronald H. Johnson (Wis.) in announcing they would help the Senate’s 55 Democrats assemble the 60 votes needed to clear a critical procedural vote and end debate on the budget measure.

This is a huge mistake, as we’ve explained here and here. Proponents of the budget deal say it will help prevent another government shutdown, but it will actually reduce conservatives’ leverage to prevent further spending increases:

According to the Washington Post, “After more than two years of constant crisis, the emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease fire. Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their debt-reduction goals, laying down arms and, for the moment, trying to avoid another…standoff.” In short, this agreement is an effort to limit the number of fiscal standoffs over the next two years. Each of these standoffs have led to sustained public attention on the $17 trillion national debt and a seemingly bipartisan inability to get the country’s fiscal house in order. This public attention has been good for the country, and these standoffs have provided leverage points necessary to control spending with a liberal Senate and White House.

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