Commentary: Trump’s Budget Puts GOP Congress On The Spot
George Rasley, CHQ Editor
March 19, 2017
It doesn’t matter what politicians say, you can always tell what their priorities are by what they spend your tax dollars on. And this is especially true of Capitol Hill’s establishment Republicans who for years have talked about cutting spending, but always pass budgets that fund Democratic Party priorities and Far Left liberal organizations.
However, this year Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are on the spot because Trump budgetPresident Trump has proposed the most conservative budget since Ronald Reagan was President.
(You can review President Trump’s Make America Great Again budget plan through this link.)
So, this year the responsibility and the plaudits – or more likely the blame – for what gets funded will be squarely on the shoulders of Capitol Hill’s Republican leaders who can no longer blame Obama for funding Planned Parenthood, race-based groups like La Raza, and liberal boondoggles like the National Endowment for the Arts.
In the simplest terms, President Trump’s new budget proposes to raise discretionary defense spending by $54 billion in the next fiscal year and cut domestic discretionary spending by an equivalent amount.
It is important to remember that the budget blueprint released this week only deals with the discretionary portion of the budget, which makes up less than one-third of an estimated $4 trillion in federal spending in fiscal 2018.
To pay for his defense buildup, President Trump asks Congress reduce the budgets at the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. The list of programs identified for elimination is lengthy, with as The Washington Post put it, includes “targets both familiar and obscure.”
“In terms of the overall change in direction, this is basically following the Reagan blueprint to reorder priorities in discretionary spending,” said former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), who as a House member and “blue dog” Democrat played a key role in Reagan’s first budget battle. “It would be modest in any private entity, but in government, it’s significant.”
However, here’s the key point to keep in mind. President Reagan, while he regularly spoke of eliminating programs and agencies, had little opportunity to do so because he faced a Democratic House during both his terms as President.
President Trump, at least in theory, faces no such obstacle.
However, as Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution who oversaw the government reinvention initiative during the Clinton administration, told The Washington Post, “You have to tell big pieces of the government to stop doing stuff, and the only way to do that is to overturn statutes… That’s why almost every effort has come far, far short. Despite many Republican administrations and Republican Congresses, the government is bigger than it ever was.”
But President Trump appears ready, even eager to “tell big pieces of the government to stop doing stuff.”
Earlier this week, the President signed an executive order designed to reorganize the executive branch. Unlike previous establishment budget cutting rhetoric, President Trump’s Executive Order includes the stated goal of finding programs and perhaps whole agencies that could be eliminated.
And the budget backs-up the Executive Order.
Of course, establishment Republicans are already whining about the cuts to their pet projects and agencies.
Big spending establishment Republican Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5), the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement to The Washington Post, “While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive… We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse.”
“Draconian” was the same word the Democrats used back in 2011 when then-House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who had promised $100 billion in real spending cuts during the 2010 campaign, compromised with the Democrats for $38.5 billion in future savings in a deal that would result in “the biggest annual spending cut in history,” as President Obama termed it.
At the time, no one noticed the lie upon which the spending deal was founded. Paul Ryan and everyone on the inside knew there would be no decrease in spending and the “historic” or as liberal Democrats falsely termed them, “draconian budget cuts” would actually result in the federal government spending $3.6 trillion – a 4.2 percent increase in outlays that also increased the annual deficit to $1.298 trillion.
The “draconian budget cuts” of 2011 ended up being a spending increase and the federal government wrapped up its biggest spending year and its second biggest annual budget deficit ever but, as The Wall Street Journal put it, almost nobody noticed.
As his budget moves through Congress President Trump will face a similar, but slightly different, problem.
The pressure from Capitol Hill’s big spending establishment Republicans won’t be to cut the budget, it will be to fund the increased spending on defense and homeland security AND all the domestic boondoggles that President Trump wants to eliminate to pay for his shift in priorities, thereby inflating the deficit even further.
The Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044 we urge conservatives to call their Representatives and Senators to demand that they fund President Trump’s budget as is by eliminating the discretionary spending he has targeted.
Reprinted With Permission from ConservativeHQ.com