It’s Christmastime in Washington, D.C., and that can mean only one thing: Congress is once again playing Santa Claus. The names at the top of its list are the Washington Cartel: The big businesses and lobbyists who get in bed with career politicians to do nothing but grow government. And left off the list: the American taxpayer.
Thanks to last year’s landslide elections, Republicans now control more seats in Congress, more governorships and more state legislative seats across the country than at any time since the 1920s. We retired Harry Reid and took control of the Senate. And yet today marks a milestone and an ignominious one. Before long, Republican leaders in the Senate and House intend to join hands with a majority of Congressional Democrats to pass a bill that funds President Barack Obama’s disastrous agenda well into 2016.
So how did the Republican leadership in Congress embrace its mandate for change? Let me count the ways:
First, shortly after taking the reins of power in the Senate, the GOP-led Congress fully funded President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty.
Then, the GOP-led Congress institutionalized and expanded Obamacare policies by permanently surrendering on the so-called “doc fix.” To accomplish this feat GOP leadership broke with the long-established bipartisan practice of paying for the doc fix and added half a trillion dollars to our nation’s debt over two decades.
Then, GOP leadership confirmed Loretta Lynch, Obama’s nominee for attorney general, who told us all ahead of time that she intended to ignore the plain text of the law.
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Next, Senate GOP leadership facilitated the approval of Obama’s disastrous Iranian nuclear deal. They did so via a convoluted, backwards disapproval process that was designed to fail, and then did nothing to prevent the deal’s implementation or stop more than $100 billion from going to Iran and its terror proxies.
Then the GOP-led Congress forfeited what was left of its budget discipline and passed former Speaker John Boehner’s Golden Parachute budget deal. This deal added $80 billion in federal spending and debt above the 2011 budget caps, the one conservative budget victory in the Obama era.
In December, the GOP-led Congress ushered through an irresponsible multibillion-dollar highway funding bill that reauthorized the expired, cronyist Export-Import Bank, and put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in corporate welfare.
The GOP-led Congress this month also passed yet another massive education overhaul with unanimous Democratic support. The overhaul perpetuated top-down mandates that do little to reduce the large and ever-growing role of the federal government in education.
And while I am encouraged that the GOP-led Congress finally took a significant step toward repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood in this month’s budget reconciliation bill, GOP leadership included it in a bill that commanded no leverage with Obama. They placed it in a bill the president will instantly veto, instead of including these priorities in Friday’s government funding bill, one that must be signed into law if the president wants to keep the federal government open.
To understand the priorities of Republican leadership, contrast these actions with the last-minute stocking stuffers that did make their way into this must-pass bill to fund the government:
● Quadrupling of H-2B visas for low-skilled workers, which will only drag down wages, kill American jobs, and hurt working men and women
● An open door to fund the president’s Green Climate Fund that will effectively rubber stamp the job-killing Paris climate accords
● Relief from Obamacare taxes for well-connected labor unions and the healthcare industry, while millions of Americans continue to suffer under Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums, deductibles, and lower quality of care
● And a complete failure to prevent the resettling of refugees from nations where ISIL or Al-Qaeda controls large swaths of territory—this despite a veto-proof majority in the House of Representatives in favor of strengthening the screening process for refugees
Since taking control of the Senate, Republican leadership has joined hands with a majority of Democrats to thwart their own caucus’ efforts to stop the Obama agenda 24 times. During each of these 24 votes, this so-called Republican majority successfully passed legislation with a majority of Democrats in support and a majority of Republicans opposed. This is why I have said that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the most effective Democratic leader in modern times.
But don’t take my word for it. Take Sen. Chuck Schumer’s, the vice chair of the Senate Democratic conference. Today Sen. Schumer summed up what’s wrong with Washington when he told Politico, “Sen. McConnell wants to see the Senate work. But the good news for [Democrats] is, to make it work, he has to do basically our agenda.”
Though the Senate majority leader promised a return to “regular order” this year, we have seen minimal attempts to pass individual appropriations bills. These targeted bills would fund the government piece-by-piece and enable the people’s representatives to have a greater say in how their tax dollars are spent.
Instead, in a tactic that will go mostly unnoticed, this government funding deal was once again negotiated behind closed doors, and then, like several recent “must-pass” bills, will be rammed through the Senate in no time with limited debate and no floor amendments via a parliamentary mechanism called a “privileged message.” A privileged message is a tool that has been abused by Congressional leadership to circumvent committees of jurisdiction and bypass regular order of business to expedite legislation for immediate final passage.
Leadership is employing this tactic to pass a one-trillion-dollar-plus spending bill at the last minute in a matter of days without giving the American people a chance to debate whether it advances their ideals or their best interests. It’s all or nothing. Take it or leave it. They will countenance no debate on whether we should continue to fund Obamacare, or Planned Parenthood, or the disastrous Iranian nuclear deal. There’s one light switch to fund the government, and we can turn it either on or off.
Leadership will call this “legislating.” “Governing,” they say, their voices set an octave lower to convey an informed seriousness. And while they exit the U.S. Capitol, patting themselves on their backs, and make beelines for Washington cocktail parties where many a toast will be raised to their “effectiveness,” working Americans who will never step foot in a Georgetown salon will continue to struggle under this administration’s failed policies.
When I’m traveling this country, people often ask me why Washington isn’t listening. Over and over again, from coast to coast, they ask me how Washington can be so tone deaf to their volcanic frustration with the failed tax and spend policies that have absolutely crushed them. Well, I am listening to them, which is why I cannot and will not support this massive crony Christmas gift—a bill that effectively forfeits our massive Republican victories of 2014 and cements Obama’s priorities for nearly the full remainder of his term.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.