- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2019

President Trump urged House Republicans Thursday to vote for a two-year, $1.37 trillion budget measure, saying it’s needed to keep building up the military and help veterans.

“House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets,” the president tweeted. “I am totally with you.”

The House is expected to vote Thursday on the deal that would raise spending by $320 billion over two years and suspend the debt ceiling through November 2020.

The president is visiting the Pentagon Thursday. The budget agreement would provide $738 billion in military funding for fiscal 2020, about a 3-percent increase from current levels but $12 billion less than the administration originally sought.

Many House conservatives, including the influential Freedom Caucus, have come out against the spending bill. Opponents say it will increase spending and deficits on a level with the Obama administration, while offsetting only $77 billion of the total.

The White House and congressional leaders of both parties support the measure, which would also essentially put off any further spending battles until after the presidential election.

But the president’s sell wasn’t making much headway with key conservatives on Capitol Hill.

The influential Freedom Caucus came out against the bill earlier this week, and on Thursday the steering committee of the Republican Study Committee, a broader group of conservatives, rejected the deal.

RSC Chairman Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, said the Trump administration made a good effort to try to add budget cuts to lessen the impact of the new spending, but blamed Democrats for refusing.

“Our nation is more than $22 trillion in debt and simply cannot afford reckless measures like this one,” Mr. Johnson said.

The conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks also warned Republicans not to support the spending deal.

“Republicans who go along with this budget deal will lose all credibility on spending,” said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks vice president of legislative affairs. “This is budget deal is ludicrous. The GOP has been misleading the American public on spending for years now. They talk a great game on the campaign trail. But when it’s crunch time, they fold.”

He said GOP leadership “shamelessly supporting a budget-busting deal and using the false fear of military atrophy as their cover is dishonest to Americans and disrespectful to our armed forces.”

— Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.

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