23 Senate Republicans Break With Donald Trump Over Massive Budget Deal

Easing the likelihood of defaulting on the nation's debt and having another government shutdown come October, the Senate passed a hefty, bipartisan two-year budget agreement on Thursday—despite nearly two dozen Republicans going against the deal that is supported by President Trump and voting against it.

Twenty-three GOP senators did not vote for the budget. Coupled with five Democrats who also voted against it, the measure was passed 67-28.

A deal that was hashed out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the $2.7 trillion agreement would fund the government and raise the debt ceiling for the next two years. Trump has given his blessing and has promised to sign the deal, prodding Senate Republicans one last time Thursday morning to support the deal.

"Budget Deal is phenomenal for our Great Military, our Vets, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" Trump tweeted just prior to the vote. "Two year deal gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT!"

But the GOP defectors have blasted the budget for adding $320 billion to current spending levels, a figure that contradicts their years of harping against deficits and debts. There was concern in recent weeks over the lack of GOP support. A vote without at least half of their conference supporting the Trump-backed deal would have looked bad on Republican leadership and could have drawn the ire of the president. Only about a third of House Republicans voted for the budget agreement last week while a majority of Democrats supported it.

"Many of the supporters of this debt deal ran around their states for years complaining that President Obama's spending too much and borrowing too much," Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor before the vote. "And these same Republicans now, the whole disingenuous lot of them, will wiggle their way to the front of the draw, to the front of the spending trough to vote for as much or more debt than President Obama ever added."

Republicans Rebuke Trump-backed Budget deal
President Donald Trump, right, acknowledges US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), left, prior to signing H.J. Res. 38, disapproving the rule submitted by the US Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 16, 2017, in Washington, DC. Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty

"Shame on the politicians who campaign as conservatives but govern as big spenders," Paul added.

The 23 Republicans who voted against the budget agreement were: Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Josh Hawley of Missouri, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

The five Democrats who opposed it were: Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. Presidential candidates Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

An amendment offered by Paul that would have cut and cap spending, in addition to balancing the budget, failed to muster the 60-vote threshold needed to pass.

Many of the Republicans who did not support the budget, including Paul, voted for Trump's tax cuts in 2017, which the Congressional Budget Office has projected will add nearly $2 trillion to the deficit by 2028.

Leading up to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his colleagues to support the budget.

"This is the agreement the administration has negotiated. This is the deal the House has passed. This is the deal President Trump is waiting and eager to sign into law this is the deal that every member of this body should support when we vote later this morning," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.

The budget will raise defense spending, something Republican leadership has used to entice its members to support the funding, in addition to the fact that the U.S. will avert a detrimental default on its debt.

"Perhaps most importantly, particularly to my Republican colleagues and to me, this legislation sets a specific funding level for our national defense," McConnell said in his floor remarks. "It secures our nation's full faith and credit and ensures that Congress will not throw an unnecessary wrench into the gears of job growth and the thriving economy."

This story was updated to include details of the final vote and the names of how certain members voted.