A GOP House, a GOP Senate, and a GOP President cannot cut a penny in spending


The budget agreement reached by the Republican House and Republican Senate would increase spending over 500 billion dollars over the next two years. It does not appear to cut a penny from domestic spending; in fact, along with military increases, it increases domestic spending by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Basically, what happened is that the Democrats held military spending hostage so that they not only protected all their favorite spending programs but got huge increases for them.

According to outlines of the budget plan circulated by congressional aides, existing spending caps would be raised by a combined $296 billion through 2019. The agreement includes an additional $160 billion in uncapped funding for overseas military and State Department operations, and about $90 billion more would be spent on disaster aid for victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires.

Some of the funding is reserved for programs favored by lawmakers of both parties: research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, for instance, as well as transportation and water infrastructure. The Children’s Health Insurance Program would be extended through 2028, and the federal fund for community health centers would see a two-year extension.

We have over 20 trillion dollars in debt. is the NIH really a national priority? Is "transportation", whatever that is, really a vital priority, or "water infrastructure", whatever that is? Why does CHIP need to be authorized for 10 years? Is the Department of Defense being funded for 10 years? Is the border wall?

The deal would also obviate the need to raise the debt ceiling until after the 2018 elections. How convenient. The debt ceiling votes are needed to keep government spending in check, but are now being done away with.

Mitch McConnell will tell you he had to agree to hundreds of billions more in domestic spending because, according to Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to pass such legislation. But Senate rules are not to be found in the Constitution. There is nothing to prevent the Senate from changing the rules and deciding spending based on majority votes. McConnell's refused to do that because he too wants to massively increase spending.

Then there is Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House. He agreed to this lousy deal when he didn't have to. He could have treated the Senate as if it were run by Democrats (which it effectively is) and refused to deal with them unless some domestic programs were cut. Ryan caved and sided with McConnell's plan.

Then there is President Trump, who supports the deal for increasing military spending but is silent on the issue of fiscal responsibility. He didn't make this deal but he could threaten to veto it, to extract spending cut concessions, but he won't. Trump, like McConnell and Ryan, is a co-conspirator.

All three of them--McConnell, Ryan, and Trump, are going to be responsible for massive increases in debt. We voted in a Republican President, a Republican House, and a Republican Senate, and it is still not enough, we still cannot get one cent from one program cut. If even one of them-Trump, Ryan, or McConnell showed some resoluteness, some progress could have been accomplished.

Democrats control nothing and yet they are still effectively in power. When it comes to deficits and the debt, whether you vote Democrat or Republican, all you are really doing is reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

[originally in AT]



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