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Senate Passes Two-Year Spending Plan, Adjourns for August Recess

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Last week, the Senate passed the negotiated budget agreement and adjourned for August recess. The budget deal, which authorizes spending for two years, was the product of a compromise between President Trump and Congressional Democrats. While Trump urged Republicans to support the budget, many conservatives opposed it. The deal extends beyond the 2020 election – reflecting a budget agreement and a suspension of the debt ceiling – removing the possibility of default as well as the need for fresh budget negotiations during a contentious election season.

In addition to passing a budget, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed a first draft of a surface transportation bill, reauthorizing the FAST Act for five years and the Senate confirmed an additional 13 Trump-appointed judges to the federal bench. The EPW bill will provide a base for reauthorization negotiations, and – if properly funded – reflect a 27% increase in federal outlays over the next five years, 90% of which will flow to state Departments of Transportation for surface infrastructure projects. There is still no clarity how the bill will be funded, with a gas tax increase continuing to seem unlikely.

With the 13 judges confirmed by the Senate last week, the total number of Trump-appointed judges confirmed by the Senate since January 2017 is 144, marking a long-lasting impact on the federal judiciary. The most notable of Trump-appointed judges were Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, who are both serving as associate justices of the United States Supreme Court.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at


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