WASHINGTON — A hard-won budget and debt deal easily cleared the Senate on Thursday, powered by President Donald Trump's endorsement and a bipartisan drive to cement recent spending increases for the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
The legislation passed by a 67-28 vote as Trump and his GOP allies relied on lots of Democratic votes to propel it over the finish line.
Passage marked a drama-free solution to a worrisome set of looming Washington deadlines as both allies and adversaries of the president set aside ideology in exchange for relative fiscal peace and stability.
The measure, which Trump has promised to sign, would permit the government to resume borrowing to pay all its bills and would set an overall $1.37 trillion limit on agency budgets approved by Congress annually.
It does nothing to stem the government's spiraling debt and the return of $1 trillion-plus deficits but it also takes away the prospect of a government shutdown in October or the threat of deep automatic spending cuts.
The administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., played strong hands in the talks that sealed the agreement last week, producing a pragmatic measure that had much for lawmakers to dislike.
Trump did step back from a possible fight over spending increases sought by liberals, and he achieved his priorities on Pentagon budgets and the stock market-soothing borrowing limit.
"Budget Deal is phenomenal for our Great Military, our Vets, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" Trump tweeted before the vote. "Two year deal gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT!"
Pelosi won remarkable Democratic unity in pushing the bill through the House last week despite divides on issues such as impeachment and health care.
Democrats in the GOP-controlled Senate delivered most of their votes for the deal. Many of the more solidly conservative Republicans said it allowed for unchecked borrowing and too much spending.
The measure was an epitaph to the 2011 Budget Control Act, which came about due to a tea party-fueled battle over debt limit legislation during the run-up to President Barack Obama's re-election. That law promised more than $2 trillion in deficit cuts through 2021, including automatic spending cuts that were put in place after the failure of a so-called deficit super-committee.
"It's not just Democrats. Republicans are also guilty. At least the big-government Republicans who will vote for this monstrous addition of debt," said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
"Many of the supporters of this debt deal ran around their states for years complaining that, 'President Obama's spending too much and borrowing too much,' and these same Republicans now, the whole disingenuous lot of them, will wiggle their way to the front of the trough."
The bill would lift the debt limit for two years, into either a second Trump term or the administration of a Democratic successor.
It would reverse scheduled 10 percent cuts to defense and nondefense programs next year, at a two-year cost of more than $200 billion.
An additional $100 billion over two years would add to recent gains for military readiness, combating opioids and other domestic initiatives, and would keep pace with rising costs for veterans' health care.
Those increases a lone, assuming they are repeated year after year, promise to add $2 trillion or more to the government's $22 trillion debt over the coming decade.
The bill was powered by a coalition of GOP defense hawks, Democrats seeking to preserve gains in domestic accounts, and the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Democrats voted for the bill by a wide margin, and it won a healthy majority of Senate Republicans.
"Providing sufficient funding for our military and eliminating the threat of sequestration for good are absolutely necessary for our military to have the budgetary stability and predictability they so desperately need," said the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.
It was also a long-sought victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who initiated the negotiations and was deeply invested in bringing order and relative predictability to the budget and debt deadlines.
Losers included more conservative elements of the White House. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, a former tea party congressman from South Carolina, and acting budget director Russell Vought were rebuffed in attempts to add spending cuts to defray the bill's cost.
"We have to invest in improved readiness to help our military commanders plan for emerging challenges, in research and development to support the U.S. military of the future, and in rock-solid support for our alliance commitments," McConnell said.
"This deal is an opportunity to do exactly that. This is the agreement the administration has negotiated. This is the deal the House has passed. This is the deal President Trump is waiting and eager to sign into law."
HUNTINGTON — Summer fun in the Tri-State area isn't over just yet as the 2019 Wayne County Fair is officially underway at Camden Park in Huntington and people around the area are wasting no time in enjoying all the fair and the park have to offer this year.
For the King family, who had planned to visit the park anyway, the fair came as an added bonus. Parents John and Jennifer had brought their two kids along Wednesday to take in the sights and sounds of Camden Park for the first time.
"You know we haven't been to Camden Park in so many years, so to get to bring our kids down here is kind of like a trip down memory lane for us," John King said.
In addition to traditional Camden Park entertainment, there are a variety of vendors and exhibit halls set up for this week's fair, that combined with picture perfect afternoon weather for the fair's first two days created an environment the whole family can enjoy.
"We're really enjoying the atmosphere around the park," Jennifer King said. "It was a beautiful day and we're glad we came down to enjoy it."
The park is open daily from noon to 10 p.m. General admission is $5 per person. An all-day ride bracelet is an additional $10. Parking is free. Gates open at noon each day; rides start at 1 p.m.
For complete fair details, visit http://waynecountyfair-wv.com/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-272-6839.
HUNTINGTON — As we first informed readers nearly two weeks ago, starting on Aug. 5, The Herald-Dispatch will no longer publish a print edition on Mondays, but it will continue to have an online news and advertising presence on that day.
The Herald-Dispatch will continue to publish a Monday edition, but the news in it will be available only online, at www.heralddispatch.com, and through the electronic edition, which shows readers replicas of pages in a clickable digital format.
The move does not affect print publication of The Herald-Dispatch during the rest of the week. Print editions will continue to be published Tuesday through Sunday.
The decision to end Monday print editions was made to reduce expenses, as explained previously by HD Media Publisher Jim Heady.
"It was a difficult decision to make, but we felt it was the best way to reduce expenses without hurting the integrity of The Herald-Dispatch," he said.
All paid seven-day subscribers to The Herald-Dispatch should have access to the newspaper's website and its electronic edition if they have established a username and password.
If they have not, or have difficulty getting logged in to the website, they can call the Customer Service Department at 304-526-4005 for assistance.
Home delivery rates will remain the same in relation to this change. We believe that it is preferable to reduce expenses by eliminating the Monday print edition rather than raise subscription rates.
Hours for the Customer Service Department, at 304-526-4005, are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 to 10 a.m. Saturday and 6 to 11 a.m. Sunday.
The elimination of the Monday print edition will be accompanied by a few other changes starting next week:
• Obituaries: Obituaries submitted on Sundays for the Monday electronic edition will be posted on The Herald-Dispatch's website as they are now and will be in the Monday electronic edition.
Families or funeral homes who submit obituaries for the Monday edition will have the option of also having the obituary appear in the Tuesday print edition at no extra charge.
• Community page: The Community page that previously appeared in Mondays will be moved to the Tuesday print edition.
That page regularly includes the Lost Huntington and This Week in History articles, and will continue to do so on Tuesdays. The Community page that has appeared in Wednesday editions will be moved to the Thursday edition.
The Community section in the Sunday edition will continue with its regular features.