Last year at about this time in the final days of GOP control of Congress, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell sent a short-term funding bill to Donald Trump to avert a partial government shutdown. Trump signed the measure, thus funding the government through December 21, 2018.
When that temporary funding expired, Trump proceeded to “shut down” the government, but after stories of how federal employees had suffered through the holiday season, he agreed to another short-term deal with Democrats — who now controlled the House after the midterm Blue Tsunami — to reopen the government through February 15, 2019. This agreement, however, contained none of Trump’s funding priorities, so he promised to shut the government down again, if necessary, to get the money he sought.
Trump never had to go through with his threat because Congress passed, and he signed into law, a massive spending bill to keep government open — which is politispeak for keep spending money — through the end of September 2019.
However, as was the case last year at this time, Congress failed to do its constitutional duty to create a budget before the end of the fiscal year. So, just days before September 30th, 2019, Trump and the Unibrow Congress passed another stop-gap funding bill to keep the government open through November 21.
Did Washington finally get its act together before midnight yesterday and do its job? Yeah, right. As always, they elected to kick the budget can down the road with another short-term spending bill to keep government open until a few days before Christmas.
I took you on this trip down memory lane to not only remind you of the lies told by Trump and the GOP when they promised to rein in spending and eliminate the national debt, but to also give you a plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face prediction on where things are heading when it comes to current budget discussions.
With the current continuing resolution (CR) expiring on the last Friday before Christmas (December 20), there’s not a chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks of a government shutdown, especially with the Iowa Caucus taking place mere weeks after the holidays. If past behavior is any indication, we’ll likely see another CR become law to carry Washington into the early spring. Then, with the 2020 election season in overdrive, a “bipartisan” agreement will be made to finance government through the rest of the fiscal year.
But the fiscal year ends less than five weeks before the 2020 election, so we’re also likely to see a CR of some kind pushed through Congress to finance Washington past November 3. Depending on the party makeup in Congress after the election, and whether or not Trump is re-elected, we’ll either see more CRs passed, or we’ll see the spending flood gates opened wide as Trump tries to buy a legacy.
Washington’s spending addiction has put America on the precipice of a fiscal abyss — a reality made worse by the fact that every CR maintains and/or increases spending on many issues important to conservatives, such as Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, and DACA.
U.S. debt will increase by more than $9 trillion by the end of Trump’s second term, assuming he has one, despite his promise to eliminate the debt by that time. And over the past eight years of varying degrees of Republican control of Washington, we’ve witnessed the greatest explosion of the national debt of U.S. history.
If can-kicking were an Olympic sport, the GOP would win the gold. But hey, Democrats are worse . . . right?
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative.