Deja Vu: Emerging Federal Budget Deal Raises Debt Ceiling, Nixes Spending Restraint

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The more things change, the more they stay the same. No place does that seem to be more true than our nation’s capital, where a budget deal coming together between the White House, Democratic House, and Republican Senate will raise the debt ceiling to pave the way for more and more spending. The teased spending cuts, however, do not make an appearance.

From the Washington Post:

“[…] The pending deal would seek to extend the debt ceiling and set new spending levels for two years, ratcheting back the budget brinkmanship that led to a record-long government shutdown earlier this year.

But instead of the $150 billion in new spending cuts recently demanded by White House acting budget director Russell Vought, the agreement would include a significantly lower amount of reductions. And those reductions aren’t expected to represent actual spending cuts, in part because most would take place in future years and likely be reversed by Congress at a later date. A precise figure wasn’t available.

Details remained fluid and subject to change, according to the people describing the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details.

In practical terms, the budget agreement would increase spending by tens of billions of dollars in the next two years, a stark reversal from the White House’s budget request several months ago that sought to slash spending at many agencies starting in October. […]”

Admittedly, getting spending cuts through the Democratic majority in the U.S. House would be quite a challenge, but the sense of deja vu related to Washington’s spending habits is hard to shake. There have been reports that President Donald Trump is directing his aides to identify significant budget cuts for his second term. That tells us something about the president’s confidence level going into 2020, as well as the prospect of Republicans again gaining full control of congress and the Oval Office.

Yet, Republicans did control congress and the White House from 2016 to 2018 and, instead of fiscal conservatism, we got a dramatic acceleration of spending other people’s money.

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During that time there were no serious efforts by congressional leadership to restrain discretionary spending, let alone to tackle the entitlement programs the overwhelming source of spending increases. In fact, efforts by conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to limit new spending via budget caps were lambasted by establishment Republicans, like our very own Sen. Thom Tillis who derided Paul’s principled stand as simply trying to ‘make a point.’

Wouldn’t it be nice if those spending caps were in place now that Nancy Pelosi lords over the House of Representatives? Instead congress faces a superficial debt ceiling crisis that will have them running right into Pelosi’s arms to spend us into oblivion.

Read more about the emerging budget deal here.

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