House passes debt and spending deal

By Tony Bertuca / May 31, 2023 at 10:31 PM

The House voted 314-117 to pass a spending agreement that would fund national defense at $886 billion in fiscal year 2024 and avert default on the national debt.

The bill was supported by 149 Republicans and 165 Democrats.

The deal, which would provide the amount of defense spending President Biden has requested for FY-24 with a 1% increase in FY-25, now advances to the Senate where it is likely to pass. The Treasury Department, meanwhile, has said the debt limit must be raised by June 5 to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt.

Many congressional Republicans supported the bill, despite having criticized Biden’s defense request for being too small and amounting to a cut once inflation is factored. Biden’s FY-24 request is a 3.3% increase above what Congress enacted for defense FY-23 but less 1% real growth when accounting for inflation.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) praised the bill’s passage in a statement.

“This agreement paves the way for appropriations bills to be signed into law for the next two fiscal years -- with funding prioritized for our military and our veterans,” she said. “At the same time, this agreement reduces and reallocates lower-priority spending.”

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), who chairs the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said in a statement he believes defense spending can be better prioritized under the caps set by the new agreement.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act reflects that by rejecting Democratic demands for parity between defense and non-defense funding,” he said. “As chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, I intend to work with my colleagues to focus on near-term threats and long-term modernization within the agreed-upon caps. I believe we can meet those goals by cutting funding for misguided Defense Department priorities that aren’t related to national security, optimizing the workforce, and creating incentives for disruption to create competition and lower costs.”

In a press conference after the vote, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) touted the bill’s massive spending cuts, which the Congressional Budget Office has said could amount to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he said.

Biden said in a statement that the bill is a “bipartisan compromise.”

“Neither side got everything it wanted,” he said. “That’s the responsibility of governing.”