U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin voted against a $2.7 trillion budget bill that was approved last week, joining two-thirds of House Republicans who were not in favor of the legislation despite efforts from President Donald Trump to persuade them otherwise.
The bill, called the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, establishes a congressional budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and suspends the debt limit through July 2021. It allows the government to spend $320 billion over fixed caps but would prevent a default on federal payments and avoid billions in automatic spending cuts for military and domestic programs next year.
The two-year budget agreement passed the House, 284-149, due to overwhelming Democratic support. Only 65 of the 197 House Republicans voted in favor, while the remaining members opposed the measure because of its impact on the budget deficit.
Mr. Zeldin said in an email that he voted against the bill because it would worsen the federal debt, leading to long-term effects for future generations.
“Year after year, Congress kicks the can down the road of our looming debt and deficit crisis, swiping trillions of dollars on the nation’s credit card, with no way of paying for it,” Mr. Zeldin said in the email. “Today, after years of failing to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending, our national debt stands at over $22 trillion, which is over $68,000 for every American.”
Immediately after the House approved the bill, U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, called for an amendment to change the title of the bill to read: “A bill to kick the can down the road, and for other purposes.” Forty-one Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, but Mr. Zeldin was not among them.
Mr. Zeldin continued in the email, “It is not us but our children who are the biggest losers, saddled with more and more crushing levels of debt. Washington can’t keep operating under the mentality of ‘We will tackle it next time.’ I’ve heard that all too often since arriving in Congress, and it’s unacceptable.”
The president backed the agreement and called on House Republicans to support it as well, as many of them were expected to vote against it. He called them out in a tweet hours before it went to a vote.
“House Republicans should support the TWO YEAR BUDGET AGREEMENT which greatly helps our Military and our Vets,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “I am totally with you!”
The Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.