GOP lawmakers vowed Thursday to fight to keep spending cuts to $1.9 trillion, tax increases in place through fiscal year 2018 in the face of President Donald Trump’s threat to impose an economic “deadline” to avoid the cuts.
The lawmakers said they would seek a bipartisan spending plan to ensure the cuts don’t take effect in the next two months.
The announcement by the House and Senate Budget Committees came as Trump said he would trigger an economic deadline for spending cuts or other tax increases if he didn’t get his wish to avoid a federal default.
Trump’s threats to cut spending or raise taxes have been a frequent feature of his presidency.
They are a key reason Republicans control both chambers of Congress and Trump has been unable to deliver on key campaign promises.
Republicans say the cuts are needed to avoid an automatic tax increase on businesses and individuals and to keep the U.S. economy from spiraling out of control.
In a letter to lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R, Wisconsin, wrote that a bipartisan compromise is needed to protect the economy, including spending cuts.
McConnell and Ryan also promised to provide tax relief to middle-class families.
The two leaders said a bipartisan agreement would allow them to provide relief for individuals and businesses while still maintaining the tax code and protecting the deficit.
The leaders said they will work with the Trump administration to find a solution to the long-term budget deficit that can provide relief and growth while keeping government open and allowing Americans to take full advantage of the economy.
The House and the Senate also voted on an amendment that would allow the Trump Administration to delay the expiration of tax relief on higher-income households until 2019.
The amendment, which was backed by both Democrats and Republicans, would allow more than $200 billion in additional spending over the next 10 years to be put aside to help middle- and working-class Americans.
Democrats have said they cannot support the amendment because of concerns that it would cause economic hardship to the middle class and would raise taxes on many lower-income Americans.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D, N.Y., also voted for the amendment.
Both leaders said the plan would be voted on by the full House on Friday.
Senate Republicans plan to vote on the measure by Friday afternoon, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide.
The Senate also will vote on an amended measure that would require the Treasury Department to provide $15 billion in tax relief over the course of 10 years.
That measure, which passed the House but failed in the Senate, would also require the Department of Labor to provide additional $2 billion in unemployment insurance benefits to help those who lost their jobs.
The measure, supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also would prevent Trump from changing the $1 billion tax credit for small businesses and eliminate an exemption for the cost of energy used to produce goods and services.
In the House, Democrats and some Republicans have sought to include a provision that would delay the end of tax benefits for certain Americans who make less than $75,000 a year and provide a refund to those who make more.
The provision would also prevent the Treasury from using a refund that is made to help people who make $75 and more.
Trump has said he wants to see the refund refunded to taxpayers who made more than the threshold of $75 million.