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Vox, February 9, 2018:
It helps fund programs that have been starved for cash for years.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced a breakthrough budget deal. As Vox’s Tara Golshan explains, the plan will fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for 10 years and community health centers for two years; increase disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico, Florida, and elsewhere by $80 billion; include $20 billion in infrastructure spending and $6 billion in opioid and mental health treatment; and increase defense spending next year by more than 14 percent relative to existing law.
The deal lasts for two years and costs roughly $300 billion. That’s caused panic among anti-deficit groups and archconservatives worried about growing the national debt. The conservative lobbying group Heritage Action announced its opposition, saying it would treat the deal as a “key vote” and shame Republicans who support it. FreedomWorks, another economic conservative group, called it a “fiscal abomination.”
Robert Greenstein, founder and president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, comes at the deal from a different perspective. His main priority is protecting and expanding safety net programs for the poor, like food stamps, Medicaid, and the earned income tax credit. But he also takes long-term deficits seriously and views excessively large ones as a threat to the safety net.