One of the reasons Trump and “conservative” Republicans lost control of the House in 2018 and all of Washington in 2020 had to do with the lie that they would tackle the national debt and bring spending under control after eight years of Obama spending money faster than the U.S. Treasury could print it.
Trump boldly declared during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries that he would rein-in government and eliminate the national debt — a mere $19 trillion at the time — “over a period of eight years.” Likewise, the Republican Party included a commitment to address the national debt in the party’s 2016 platform.
“The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations.”
As Trump’s term came to an end, he and the Republican Party had increased the national debt nearly $8 trillion in four years — roughly the same increase Obama gave us in eight years — thus continuing the explosion in the national debt America has been served during varying degrees of GOP control of Congress and the White House since 2011.
Following their humiliating, but expected, defeat in the 2020 election, Republicans were faced with the reality that Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi would be running the show for the next two years, so they did what they do every election cycle; they dusted off their “fiscal conservative” talking points to let the world know they are ready to reduce government spending and tackle the national debt after doing the exact opposite over the past four years. Really, they did!
With Chuck Schumer and the Democrats on the verge of passing record-breaking spending legislation using the budget reconciliation process — meaning Republicans can do nothing to stop it — Mitch McConnell and Company have been re-spinning their claim that Republicans are the only hope of getting government spending under control.
McConnell spoke at an event in Kentucky last week where he promised to wage a “hell of a fight” against Schumer if he tries to pass Biden’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan along party lines. Specifically, McConnell said there would be a “big argument” about Schumer’s plan to use reconciliation, which allows them to bypass Republicans in the Senate, to pass Biden’s jobs and families plan.
“The era of bipartisanship on this stuff is over. … This is not going to be done on a bipartisan basis. This is going to be a hell of a fight over what this country ought to look like in the future and it’s going to unfold here in the next few weeks. I don’t think we’ve had a bigger difference of opinion between the two parties.”
McConnell’s bloviating bluster aside, he isn’t opposed to the spending, he just wants in on it. He doesn’t care about spending, only that Republicans get to share the credit for the taxpayer-funded payday going to their special interest groups and political allies.
“We do a lot of things on a bipartisan basis. … It’s not that we have personality problems with each other, it’s not that we have a lack of collegiality. On the things we can agree on, we do them.”
Fresh from his appearance at this year’s TPAC (Trump Praise and Adoration Conference) — formerly known as CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) — Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) appeared on Saturday’s broadcast of “Fox News Live” where he said “[Republicans] need to begin to bend the curve back” on spending, and he indicated that “conservative” Republicans in Congress will tackle the national debt by taking “a very strong stand” on raising the debt ceiling.
Co-host Griff Jenkins asked Hagerty, “In about three weeks, July 31, we are going to have the first opportunity for conservatives to try and hold the line on the debt ceiling. Yet, Republicans are negotiating for a $6 trillion possible deal, which certainly would increase debt. Do you anticipate conservatives, Republicans trying to mount a stand in three weeks with regards to a debt ceiling?”
After praising Trump under the guise of attacking Biden, Hagerty responded just as you’d expect a member of the dying Republican Party to respond ahead of an election. Concerning the debt, he said:
“I think it’s going to be a very strong stand that you’ll see from conservatives. You’ll see us standing up for what we believe is the long-term future of America. We’ve got to navigate through this coronavirus pandemic. We’ve done that. I think the Congress took on debt in order to get us through a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, at least I hope that’s the case. But we need to begin to bend the curve back at this point. And again, the policies that are coming out of the Biden administration, a $6 trillion infrastructure package, that’s moving in entirely the wrong direction.”
Since he wasn’t in Congress at the time, Hagerty may be forgiven for blaming out-of-control government spending on coronavirus when it was already that way BEFORE the so-called pandemic. Still, he’s playing right along with McConnell, McCarthy, and the rest of the lying Republican Party by pretending to care about the government debt and implying Republicans will address it.
On the subject of the debt ceiling, “conservative” Republicans controlled Congress and the White House in 2018 when they passed a two-year spending deal that, among other things, eliminated the debt ceiling for two years. But that still wasn’t enough to cure their spending addiction.
Trump used that two-year period to hold negotiations on how to permanently eliminate the debt ceiling. In a “bipartisan” White House meeting on the subject at that time, Trump said:
“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.”
In 2019, Trump and McConnell joined Nancy Pelosi to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, a bill that lifted budget spending caps and suspended the debt ceiling for two years, which brings us to the current budget discussions.
So, the next time you hear “conservative” Republicans talk about how they will rein in spending and get the budget under control, try not to laugh.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.