New Congressional Spending Deal Would Boost Spending Levels Compared To Pre-Pandemic Budget

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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The bipartisan spending deal negotiated between House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is around 20% larger than the last full year of spending before the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, Johnson, Schumer and the Senate and House minority leaders, Mitch McConnell and Hakeem Jeffries, announced a deal to fund the government with $1.590 trillion in spending until the end of Fiscal Year 2024. That total amount, known as a “top line” spending number, is roughly 20% greater than spending during Fiscal Year 2019, the last full year of government spending before the COVID-19 pandemic. (RELATED: House Republicans Threaten ‘Shutdown’ If Border Security Not Included In Government Funding Compromise)

The total outlays, referring to money appropriated from the U.S. Treasury, for Fiscal Year 2019 was $1.347 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. While increases in absolute federal spending year-to-year always occur due to inflation, the average inflation rate in the United States between those fiscal years was 16.2%, according to Carbon Collective.

“After many weeks of dialogue and debate, we have secured hard-fought concessions to unlock the FY 24 topline numbers and allow the Appropriations Committee to finally begin negotiating
and completing the twelve annual appropriations bills,” wrote Johnson in a letter to members of Congress on Jan. 7, shared by his office with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Overall, this agreement represents an actual year-over-year cut in non-VA, nondefense spending. The agreement also represents an overall cut of tens of billions below the levels in the current CR. It does this while allowing for full funding of the President’s Budget request for defense.”

The deal has been assailed by several conservative members of the House Republican Conference, including members of the House Freedom Caucus, who claim that it neither cuts spending to a satisfactory level nor ensures funding for conservative border security policies, which House Republicans have long demanded. “[House Republicans] FAILED to use its leverage to force cuts to inflationary spending,” wrote Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, the Freedom Caucus’ policy chair, on Twitter, adding that “[w]e must reject this “deal” w[ith] Dems that will INCREASE spending by ~$30 BILLION & fund agencies at war with our liberty & security – like Mayorkas’ DHS.”

Some members have indicated that they are considering an effort to remove Johnson from office if the deal is enacted. A spokesperson for Republican Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, who supported the ousting of then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over his support for a continuing resolution passed on Sept. 30, told the DCNF that he was “still pondering” whether to file a motion to vacate the chair.

“[T]his represents the most favorable budget agreement Republicans have achieved in over a decade,” Johnson wrote.

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