Congressmen Gary Palmer, R-Hover, and Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville both voted on Thursday against the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which moves to increase discretionary spending limits and suspends the national debt limit.
“I fully understand the need to rebuild our military, which was significantly diminished by ill-conceived fiscal policy decisions during the previous administration,” Palmer said. “Having served on the House Budget Committee, I supported substantial increases in funding for our military to provide the materials and equipment that our servicemen and women desperately needed to fulfill their missions. In each of those budgets, the Republican-led Budget Committee met those needs while also providing budgets that reached a balance within our ten-year window.
On Wednesday, before the vote, Brooks delivered a House Floor speech opposing the spending bill that helps increase America’s debt by another $2 trillion in just two years to more than $24 trillion.
“Numerous Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretaries of Defense have warned that America’s debt is our greatest national security threat because debt and an ensuing national bankruptcy and insolvency have the ability to damage America’s military and national security more than any enemy ever has. I agree with and heed their warnings,” Brooks said.
Palmer said, “Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said, ‘The most significant threat to our national security is our debt. The reason Admiral Mullen stated this should be obvious—a nation that creates unsustainable debt will eventually reach a point where it inflicts irreparable harm on its economy and thus on its future. And, as Admiral Mullen also indicated, out-of-control debt will eventually impact our ability to resource our military to meet our national security requirements.”
“I cannot in good conscience sacrifice America’s future on the altar of debt addiction that Washington so glorifies,” Brooks said. “Nor will I, with my vote, increase America’s annual debt service cost by yet another $40 billion/year, indefinitely. For emphasis and absent principal debt reduction, annual debt service cost is money that is never again available to serve America’s needs. Washington’s unwillingness to face our deficit and debt addiction is increasingly likely to doom a great country it took four centuries of sacrifices to build. Neither I nor the Tennessee Valley citizens I represent want any part of a debilitating national insolvency and bankruptcy that this spending bill helps make a reality.”
“It is with the long-term fiscal future of our nation in mind that I voted ‘No’ on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019,” Palmer concluded. “It is my hope that members of both parties will put partisan interests aside and show true concern for our national security, both by providing our military with necessary funding and by working toward fiscal security.”
Brooks said that his decision to give a House floor speech was inspired by the concerns of his Washington office interns over their generation inheriting of the crushing debt.
This additional $2 trillion in debt will increase America’s annual debt service cost by yet another $40 billion per year at two percent — a historically low 10-year treasury bill yield of 2 percent. At four percent that would be $80 billion. The entire NASA budget is about $20 billion.
The cost of servicing the debt is on pace to overtake defense as the third-largest item in the federal budget.
While only 16 House Democrats broke with their leadership to vote against the deal, 132 conservative House Republicans voted against the budget deal legislation. It now moves on to the Senate. Brooks and Palmer are both members of the Freedom Caucus. If the Senate passes it, President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign it.
Brooks represents Alabama’s 5th Congressional District. Palmer represents the 6th Congressional District of Alabama.