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Monday, May 1, 2017

Why The Lack Of Courage In Washington?

There's a deal to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year.  In short, all of the things that the Democrats really wanted to get funded will continue to see federal cash.  The things that the GOP and President Trump really wanted to fund will not be funded.  Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but not by much.  There will be no funds for Trump's border wall.  There will be only a slight increase in defense spending (around 2%).  There will be no cut off of funding to sanctuary cities.  On the other hand, federal funds to Planned Parenthood keep coming.  All the funds will get spent pursuant to a continuing resolution which doesn't really focus much at all on individual programs.  We could have seen this mess under Obama.  The GOP has the White House and both houses of Congress, and this is what we end up with.  It's really a poor showing by the GOP.

What is needed in Washington is a bit of courage and some leadership.  Starting now, and I mean NOW, Congress has to start on the funding bills for the next fiscal year.  These have to move through the committees and get real scrutiny.  We need a coherent and detailed plan for federal spending cuts.  These bills need to be presented to the House and Senate one after the other before the start of the fiscal year next fall.  If some pass, that will be great.  If some get filibustered by the Democrats, so be it.  By next October, whatever has not passed can be put into one big bill and pushed through under reconciliation.  That will prevent the Democrats from filibustering.  Republicans with courage can enact the entire GOP budget if the Democrats are unwilling to engage in reasonable negotiations regarding spending.

Now if for some reason, we get to a point at which only half of the government has been funded, then the rest can be handled with a continuing resolution while the spending bills are finalized.  Remember, if the Democrats block this spending, we can embrace the resulting "government shutdown".  Anything already funded will stay open.  Anything for which funds have not yet been approved will be subject to existing federal law which gives the President discretion to decide which programs and expenditures are critical and must be funded and which are not.  Imagine if President Trump decided that the EPA programs other than for water or air quality and not critical and shut that agency.  What if he closed other agencies or programs near to the hearts of the Democrats but kept nearly everything else open.  That is his power under the law.  The media and the Dems would go crazy, but one does have to wonder how long they would hold out blocking expenditures while all of the sacred cows were being starved of cash.  My guess is that two weeks would be the end of that rebellion.  It would also be the last time that the Dems decide to shut the government while Trump is president.

So where is the courage in Washington?  Maybe I should ask whether or not there is any courage in Washington.

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