Tag: Republicans

GOP Won’t Be Able To Hide From It’s Big Deficits Before The Election After All

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House and Senate Republicans who so far have successfully avoided talking about how their tax and spending policies are spiking the budget deficit won’t be able to pretend for much longer that the United States isn’t staring directly into a GOP-created fiscal policy abyss.

The U.S. Treasury and the Congressional Budget Office will issue separate reports just weeks before Election Day that show the actual 2018 deficit between $800 and $900 billion and the estimated 2019 deficit exceeding $1 trillion. The fiscal 2017 deficit was $665 billion.

The deficit numbers the GOP had hoped to bury at least until after the election will soon be available for all to see.

House and Senate Republicans so far have been able to avoid talking about the deficit by making a complete mockery of the Congressional Budget Act. Even though Congress is required by federal law to adopt an annual budget resolution (the only legislation all year that compares total revenues with total spending and forces representatives and senators to vote on the deficit), the GOP leadership decided early in 2018 to prevent that from happening.

No budget resolution meant no budget debate. No debate meant no media coverage. No coverage meant Republicans wouldn’t be asked to explain their votes in favor of trillion-dollar deficits when they had previously and emphatically demanded that the federal budget be balanced.

This cleverness will end when Treasury and CBO issue their reports this October in the final days of a fierce election. That will put the GOP’s breach of faith with its fiscal past on full display for all to see, report on, criticize and make snarky 280 character comments about.

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Given the Trump administration’s efforts to control the narrative on all issues and run roughshod over established rules and procedures, and given the president’s more-than-obvious belief that federal departments exist solely to do his bidding, delaying Treasury’s report until after the election would seem like something it would consider.

But while it’s possible that the White House could concoct a reason to order the report be held until after the election, Treasury’s Monthly Treasury Statement is expected, used and relied on by Wall Street. Delaying it for obvious political reasons may be a theoretical option but just isn’t likely.

In addition, the Congressional Budget Office has shown no willingness whatsoever to knuckle under to political pressure and so will almost certainly release its own Monthly Budget Review this October no matter what the Republican leadership demands it to do.

That means that the deficit numbers the GOP had hoped to bury at least until after the election will soon be publicly available.

This timing could not be worse for Republicans. Congress plans to be out of session by the time these two reports are issued so there will be no chance for the GOP incumbents running for reelection even to do something — like voting for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution — before the election.

In addition, on top of all the recent multiple swamp-like events involving Trump former and former allies, this soon-to-be-confirmed break with long-time GOP deficit orthodoxy is almost certain to push a number of more traditional Republicans to reconsider if or how they will vote this November.

Don’t Forget To Follow Stan Collender on Twitter @thebudgetguy

Wait…Don’t Leave Just Yet…There’s So Much More:

Trump’s Deficits Will Cause Very Serious Challenges For Multiple Generations Of Americans
Here’s What I Told NPR This Morning About The Deficit (Spoiler Alert: It’s Not Pretty)
Trump’s Economic Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics Revealed For All To See
Ryan And McConnell: Lock’em Up 
This Is Why Trump Will Shut Down The Government
Raising The Chances Of A Government Shutdown This Fall To 60%
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney Says CBO Was Right After All
Yes…Trump Will Shut Down The Government This Fall
You’ve Been Warned: Trump’s Trillion Dollar Budget Deficits Are Here To Stay

 

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House Republicans Are In Almost Total Disarray As Summer Recess Begins

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Consider all of the following now that the House of Representatives has left Washington until after Labor Day.

Paul Ryan (R-WI) is a lame duck speaker who no longer seems to care about supporting Donald Trump or Trump’s legislative agenda.

Ryan has no heir-apparent who, as Ryan increasingly checks out, has the authority to take over what was an already very unruly House Republican caucus.

There are three candidates to replace Ryan who are openly campaigning for the job and dividing the GOP caucus. This competition will likely get worse when the House reconvenes.

One of the three speaker candidates is Jim Jordan (R-OH), the former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. But the HFC, which had been so influential in determining the House legislative agenda this decade, now seems to be on its last legs. And Jordan has been accused by dozens of people of knowing about but not reporting sexual abuse when he was assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

This is almost a textbook definition of political and legislative chaos.

That means Jordan may not be in the best position to become speaker (or minority leader  if there’s a Democratic majority) in the next Congress but, if he can hold the HFC together, he may be able to determine who does.

More House Republicans are not running for reelection for one reason or another than in any other recent election. Retiring members or those defeated in their primaries tend not to be as responsive to their constituents, their party or the White House toward the end of their terms. They also can’t be counted on to vote as reliably as might have been the case before.

The most recent generic polls show Democrats with a big lead over Republicans on who should control the House in the next Congress. The biggest reason for the Democratic lead is a strong desire for there to be a check on Donald Trump, and he isn’t going away anytime soon.

The House only has 11 legislative days left before the start of fiscal 2019 but doesn’t seems to have any agreed-upon plan on how to avoid a government shutdown on October 1 except to hope that Trump doesn’t veto the continuing resolution that will be needed to prevent it.

While the shutdown clock continues to run, House Republicans seem to be content to do things that are totally symbolic and remarkably unimpressive.

The most purely symbolic gesture last week was the weak version of a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Ryan completely shot down less than 24 hours after it was introduced by Jordan and current House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC). The resolution never had a chance in the House and the GOP controlled Senate had no interest in it. It was never going to happen.

When the House reconvenes, the GOP plans to devote a significant amount of the limited time it has left before fiscal 2019 begins to three tax cut bills that have no chance of being enacted any time soon because…wait for it…the Republican-controlled Senate has already said it’s not interested.

And none of this even begins to anticipate what the House Republicans who are running for reelection and think they will need to energize the Trump base will do in September as the Manafort trial and Cohen investigations continue and as the Mueller probe moves forward.

In other words, this year’s legislative crunch time is about to get very real but House Republicans have little leadership, no plan, a very divided caucus, are very likely to be distracted and are relying on a notoriously unreliable Donald Trump to do the right thing.

This is almost a textbook definition of political and legislative chaos.

Follow Stan Collender on Twitter @thebudgetguy

Don’t Leave Just Yet…There’s so much more here:
Today Marks The Demise Of The House Freedom Caucus
This Is Why Trump Will Shut Down The Government
Raising The Chances Of A Government Shutdown This Fall To 60%
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney Says CBO Was Right After All
Yes…Trump Will Shut Down The Government This Fall
You’ve Been Warned: Trump’s Trillion Dollar Budget Deficits Are Here To Stay

 

 

$12 Billion Trump Wants For Farmer Welfare Perfectly Defines Today’s GOP

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The big federal budget-related news yesterday was that President Trump plans to spend $12 billion to aid U.S. farmers who are being hurt by his tariffs.

The is a perfect definition of what it means to be a Republican today. A GOP president is unilaterally spending billions more and increasing the budget deficit and national debt on what essentially is a welfare entitlement program for farmers.

This is almost the precise opposite of what for years the GOP has said it wants and believes and for which it has brually criticized Democrats. Substitute almost any other group for farmers (students, the elderly, unemployed) and you’ll get the full picture.

The $12 billion wasn’t included in the Trump administration’s most recent mid-session budget review and most of the $12 billion will be spent in the next fiscal year. That will increase the projected 2019 deficit to close to $1.1 trillion.

 

This Was The Worst Week EVER For GOP Federal Budget Nonsense

 

There was so much Trump White House-caused and GOP Congress-induced nonsense (and definitely I’m pulling my punches here) last week on almost everything having to do with the federal budget that it’s impossible to pick the worst of the lot.

Maybe it was Donald Trump confirming what budget wonks like me have been predicting for some time: There’s a real chance he’ll throw a tantrum this fall and shutdown the federal government if he doesn’t get the $25 billion dollars he wants for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Or maybe it was the president telling the Pentagon to start a new space force (Flash Gordon lives! See below) even though Congress hasn’t provided an appropriation for it.

Perhaps it was that (contrary to recently established Republican and Trump orthodoxy that an authorization is needed for every appropriation) the Trump space force hasn’t even been authorized yet so no appropriation (according to the GOP) should be possible.

(FYI…Contrary to what Republicans say, there is no constitutional or statutory requirement for authorizations.)

It could be the House and Senate Appropriations Committees refusing to do their jobs by not asking where the White House is getting the money to pay for everything involved in separating children from their families.

Then again, it really could be the Senate’s outright rejection of one of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s highest priorities — the first of what we’ve repeatedly been told will be multiple “rescission” bills.

The GOP Senate majority rejected the Trump rescission even though it would have mostly cut previously enacted appropriations that were never going to be spent anyway.

Of course, it could be the federal government consolidation plan that Mulvaney announced (and made sure he himself got credit for developing) but which at this point in the congressional session has little-to-no chance of being considered and even less of being adopted.

(Consider this: Mulvaney couldn’t even get the GOP-controlled Senate to approve a rescission plan that was almost totally symbolic. How is he ever going to convince it to do a massive reorganization that will have a far more negative political impact?)

There was also the House Budget Committee’s approval of a fiscal 2019 budget resolution that was adopted more than two months after the statutory deadline for Congress as a whole — not just a committee — to agree on something.

But missing the deadline by two-plus months was actually far less ludicrous than the fact that the committee-approved budget resolution includes $5.4 trillion in politically unacceptable cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other mandatory programs that may never be voted on by the full House and won’t be considered by the Senate.

In other words, the House Budget Committee was both very late and doing something that was incredibly superfluous. Saying that it was “symbolic” is giving it way to much credit.

And all this happened just this past week.

 

There’s much more here:

Congress Could Use The Budget Process To Stop Trump’s Child Separation Policy

You’ve Been Warned: Trump’s Trillion Dollar Budget Deficits Are Here To Stay

Fasten Your Seat Belts: It’s Going To Be A Very Bumpy Rest Of The Year In Washington