Congress approved a spending bill that reopened the federal government after a brief shutdown over the night. Louisiana's delegation voted three to five against accepting the budget deal. Senator John Kennedy voted against the bill, saying the spending increases are not paid for.
“It’s going to create debt and we were not allowed to offer amendments to make cuts in other parts of the money (budget), to pay for the new expenses.”
The bill includes a substantial increase in defense and discretionary funding, including billions in additional disaster relief money, much of which should find its way back to 2016 Louisiana flood victims. Kennedy says despite voting against the bill, he sees some upside from the deal.
“I’m glad the bill passed in a weird sort of way because defense will get extra money, but I told them I’m not happy that you will not allow me to amend the budget to get rid of some of the waste.”
Kennedy was joined in voting no by Senator Bill Cassidy, and Representatives Cedric Richmond, Mike Johnson, and Garret Graves. Representatives Ralph Abraham, Clay Higgins, and Steve Scalise voted yes.
The spending bill includes a reported 165 billion dollar increase in military spending. North Louisiana Representative Ralph Abraham says that’s what got his vote.
“We have the smallest Army since WWII, the smallest Navy since WWI, and the smallest Air Force ever, we have got to rebuild our military. That’s what certainly pushed me to the yes.”
Abraham is not happy about increasing the deficit, but he says the predictions for how much the debt will balloon may be overstated.
“We’ve got a 20 trillion dollar debt, this may add some to it, but the long term military contracts that can be done with this money, will certainly save a lot of money in the long run.”
Abraham says the increase in defense spending will be a substantial boost the Louisiana economy.