“The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations.” ~GOP Platform, July 2016
Three years later and $2.6 trillion deeper into the red, will the last conservative in Washington turn out the lights?
Senate Republicans are now “praying” that President Trump accepts the “deal” they cut with House Democrats to destroy Trump’s presidency and any leverage he will ever have – not just on spending but on important policy issues, such as immigration and abortion funding. Now is the time for conservatives not just to pray but to demand that the president reject the deal and simply call for a continuing resolution to keep fighting for spending cuts and the proper policy riders in the fiscal year 2020 budget.
Thanks to the one policy success conservatives secured in the past decade, spending will automatically go down by $35 billion on October 1, when the budget caps kick in, and by another $89 billion on January 1, when sequestration takes effect. Yet from day one of budget negotiations, there was no disagreement between GOP leaders and Nancy Pelosi. They both agreed on unconditionally raising the debt ceiling for two years and busting the budget caps for not just this year but next year as well, for a total of over $300 billion in more spending.
We are now spending 18 percent more than in Obama’s final year and more than during the Great Recession, even though this is a time of economic prosperity. It’s a black mark and an embarrassment to this party. But rather than applying the brakes to the runaway train, they are seeking to disable the brakes. They believe that the debt limit, not the debt itself, is the problem.
And so they have agreed to an unconditional debt ceiling suspension for two years with absolutely no spending cuts. On top of that, they would bust the budget caps for the next two years over and beyond current levels, for a price tag that will likely be north of $300 billion.
Trump needs to announce that he will veto this bill. He needs to announce his red lines both on spending levels and border policy and that he will be willing to sign a clean continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government while debate continues but will not sign a long-term bill consigning his presidency to failure and our country to indebtedness to China. At least with a clean CR, current levels are maintained, and he always has the leverage looming over Democrats that once the short duration of the CR expires, the budget cuts automatically go into place. By immediately signing a long-term busting of the budget caps, however, he will not only lose the opportunity to cut spending, but will increase spending well above current levels.