Republicans are upset that although President Obama released his picks for the NCAA men’s basketball final four bracket, he didn’t submit to Congress his budget for the next fiscal year as he was supposed to do by the first Monday in February. I don’t know why Republicans are so upset, since any budget that Obama submitted would be dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Just don’t think for a minute that Obama’s budget would be rejected because Republicans are fiscal conservatives who want to follow the Constitution, eliminate the deficit, balance the budget, reign in federal spending, and decrease the national debt.
The budget recently passed by the Republicans in the House contains unconstitutional spending, has a built-in deficit, is not balanced, does not reign in federal spending, and increases the national debt.
The House of Representatives actually recently voted on six different budgets.
The budget of the Progressive Caucus was rejected in a 84-327 vote that split Democrats 84-102.
The budget of the Congressional Black Caucus was rejected in a 105-305 vote that split Democrats 105-80.
The budget of the Senate Democrats was rejected in a 154-261 vote, with 35 Democrats joining all the Republicans in voting against it.
The budget of the Republican Study Committee was rejected in a 104-132 vote, with 171 Democrats voting “present.”
The budget of the House Democrats was rejected in a 165-253 vote, with 28 Democrats joining all the Republicans in voting against it.
The budget that did pass, by a vote of 221-207, was House Committee on the Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s “The Path to Prosperity.” Ten heroic Republicans voted against Ryan’s bloated budget: Reps. Justin Amash (MI), Paul Broun (GA), Rick Crawford (AR), Randy Forbes (VR), Chris Gibson (NY), Phil Gingrey (GA), Joe Heck (NV), Walter Jones (NC), Tom Massie (KY) and David McKinley (WV).
This is the third straight year that the GOP-controlled House has passed Ryan’s budget blueprint. It is also the third straight year that not all Republicans were on board the Ryan budget train. Ten Republicans also voted against it last year, while only four Republicans voted against it in 2011.
According to the “Statement of Constitutional and Legal Authority” that begins “The Path to Prosperity”:
This budget – for fiscal year 2014 and beyond – builds on the last two budgets passed by the House of Representatives. It recommits our country to the principles enshrined in the Constitution: liberty, limited government, and equality under the law. And it frees the country from the crushing burden of debt that threatens our future.
And according to Ryan’s introduction:
This budget provides an exit ramp from the current mess – and an entry ramp to a better future. Unlike the President’s last budget, which never balanced, this budget achieves balance within ten years. In the next decade, it spends $4.6 trillion less than will be provided under the current path.
This budget seeks to revive our communities with an emphasis on six areas. It expands opportunity by growing our economy. It strengthens the safety net by retooling federal aid. It secures seniors’ retirement by reforming entitlements. It restores fair play to the marketplace by ending cronyism. It keeps our country safe by rebuilding our military. And it ends Washington’s culture of reckless spending.
Moments before 221 House Republicans voted for this bloated budget, Chairman Ryan said on the House floor:
This budget debate was constructive. It revealed each side’s priorities. We want to balance the budget. They don’t. We want to restrain spending. They want to spend more. We think taxpayers give enough to Washington. They want to raise taxes by $1 trillion – just take more to spend more. We want to strengthen programs like Medicare. They seem complicit in their demise. We see Obamacare as a roadblock to patient-centered reform. They see it as a sacred cow. We think national security is a top priority. They want to hollow out our military. We offer modernization and reform, growth and opportunity. They cling to the status quo.
We are offering a responsible, balanced budget. It recognizes that if we can’t get a handle on our out-of-control debt, we will lose control of our future. We cut wasteful spending and balance the budget.
This plan recognizes that concern for the poor is not measured by how much money we spend in Washington, but instead how many people we help get out of poverty. We reform anti-poverty programs so they work. We help strengthen communities and families.
As briefly as I can, I want to point out six major problems with this bloated Republican budget.
One, it is too big. Republicans want to spend $3.531 trillion in the next fiscal year. This is obscene. Bush’s fiscal year 2002 budget was “only” $2 trillion.
Two, it is not balanced. Why would Republicans, who love to talk about smaller government and fiscal conservatism, even introduce a budget that wasn’t balanced? And especially after they say in “The Path to Prosperity” that they “owe the American people a balanced budget.” This Republican budget proposes to balance the budget in ten years. This is ludicrous. No future Congress is bound, or likely, to follow the budget proposal of any current Congress. The budget needs to be balanced now, not next year, and certainly not in ten years.
Three, it increases spending every year. Republicans propose to increase spending from $3.531 trillion in fiscal year 2014 to $4.954 trillion in fiscal year 2023. That is, Republicans are promising a $5 trillion budget in just ten years. The very least Republicans could do is keep spending the same as it is now.
Four, it increases the national debt every year. Here are “the appropriate levels of the public debt” as found on page 6 of H.CON.RES.25, a concurrent resolution “establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2014 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023”:
Fiscal year 2014: $17,776,278,000,000
Fiscal year 2015: $18,086,450,000,000
Fiscal year 2016: $18,343,824,000,000
Fiscal year 2017: $18,635,129,000,000
Fiscal year 2018: $18,938,669,000,000
Fiscal year 2019: $19,267,212,000,000
Fiscal year 2020: $19,608,732,000,000
Fiscal year 2021: $19,900,718,000,000
Fiscal year 2022: $20,162,755,000,000
Fiscal year 2023: $20,319,503,000,000
Five, it is filled with unconstitutional spending. According to the report that accompanies the budget resolution, this budget would fund foreign aid, farm subsidies, job training, food stamps, research, space exploration, flood insurance, education, substance-abuse prevention and treatment, Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, unemployment compensation, low-income housing assistance, school-lunch subsidies, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (“the Government’s principal welfare program”), Supplemental Security Income, the refundable portion of the Earned Income Credit, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and a myriad of other unconstitutional spending programs. No long-standing, major unconstitutional federal programs are abolished; they are just reformed or strengthened.
And six, almost everything House Republicans say about their budget is a lie. This Republican budget won’t recommit the country to the principles of the Constitution; it won’t free the country from the crushing burden of debt; it won’t provide an exit ramp from the current mess; it won’t provide an entry ramp to a better future; it won’t spend less, only less than the current path; it won’t revive our communities; it won’t grow the economy; it won’t expand opportunity; it won’t end cronyism; it won’t end Washington’s culture of reckless spending; it won’t balance the budget; it won’t cut wasteful spending; it won’t get a handle on our out-of-control debt; it won’t restrain spending; it won’t make anti-poverty programs work; it won’t help strengthen communities and families. And the things that Republicans say that are not a lie are not necessarily good. This Republican budget will strengthen the safety net, secure seniors’ retirement, rebuild the military, and strengthen Medicare. But since when, from the standpoint of the Constitution and limited government, are these good things?
The Republicans are right: “Ultimately, the budget is more than a list of numbers. It’s an expression of our governing philosophy.” And just what is their governing philosophy? The Path to Prosperity budget plan, just like last year’s version, is a path toward, and a blueprint for, the welfare/warfare state.
Another bloated Republican budget – is there any other kind?