The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) was the brainchild of then-House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and was praised by the now-retired congressman as a “positive step forward in getting government spending under control.” According to Ryan, his bill would guarantee that Washington could no longer “endlessly spend money it does not have.”
The BCA was designed to put caps on spending with a trigger for automatic across-the-board spending cuts (aka sequester) to be applied whenever the caps were exceeded. Still, Republicans have repeatedly passed legislation to “temporarily” suspend the BCA when politically convenient, beginning with a bill co-sponsored by Ryan himself in 2013 with the Bipartisan Budget Act.
Most recently, GOP-controlled Washington abandoned the BCA in February 2018 when Trump, then-House Speaker Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surrendered to Democrats’ demand to suspend the sequester and the debt ceiling until 2020.
The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military. It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great. Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2018
2020. Isn’t that an election year? What do you think the odds are that Trump and the GOP will abandon fiscal sanity once again in an attempt to win that election? Based on recent budget news, I think the odds are pretty good.
When Nancy Pelosi, Trump’s personally endorsed candidate to replace Paul Ryan, officially took control of Congress, one of her first orders of business was to approve a resolution outlining the new rules the House would use govern the Chamber. Included in the resolution was the revival of the “Gephardt Rule,” which allows the Democrats to abolish the debt limit automatically once the House passes a budget. This rule change clears the way for unlimited spending by the House without holding a vote to put members of Congress “on the record” to raise the debt limit.
Even before Democrats took back the House, Donald “I’ll eliminate the national debt in eight years” Trump was cheerleading the idea of eliminating the debt ceiling entirely.
“For many years, people have been talking about getting rid of the debt ceiling altogether. And there are a lot of good reasons to do that, so certainly that’s something that will be discussed. We even discussed it at the meeting that we had yesterday.
We could be close to seeing this terrible idea come to fruition now that discussions have begun ahead of the expiration of the current budget deal.
The House is promising to cut back on Trump’s proposed budget hikes for the Pentagon to clear the way for increased spending on a host of domestic programs. Meanwhile, Trump is threatening to let the current agreement expire without a new deal to trigger sequestration cuts across the board. This is merely 2020 electioneering to stir up his base. Nothing more.
Whether they do it temporarily or permanently, Trump, Mitch “Grim Reaper” McConnell, and the rest of the GOP will abolish the debt ceiling to allow everyone in Washington to spend unlimited amounts of money on whatever they want. Discussions between Trump, McConnell, and Pelosi have already begun to do exactly that.
Washington’s spending addiction and getting re-elected every two years has always taken priority over fiscal responsibility and shrinking the size and scope of government. This is why, even under GOP control of Congress, we’ve witnessed a record-breaking explosion of the national debt over the past eight years.
And despite putting America on the precipice of a fiscal Abyss, this is unlikely to change.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His politically incorrect and always “right” columns are also featured on NOQReport.com.
His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.