Well, another holiday season is upon us, and that means another government-funding fire drill in Congress.
The dysfunctional career politicians running the House and Senate have once again mismanaged their way into a crisis. Their “my way or the highway” position is vote for our irresponsible trillion-dollar omnibus bill, or we’ll blame you for the government shutdown that may result. It wasn’t always like this.
Forget that no one will read their 1,000-page behemoth; forget that there won’t be time for any meaningful debate; forget that it’s all being done behind closed doors; just vote for it, they say — or else. This tone-deaf style of governing — the real legacy of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — is unacceptable and must never be considered the norm. In the post-COVID-19 world, it’s imperative that our country get back to a transparent appropriations process that respects hardworking taxpayers and their money.
After all, that’s what Americans voted for on Nov. 8. On Election Day, voters decided to put House Republicans in charge of our nation’s spending decisions for the next two years. We all witnessed in real time what happens when unchecked Democrats are allowed to spend money like drunken sailors, and the people chose to rein in their fiscal insanity. In the blink of an eye, the reckless policies of the arrogant triumvirate of President Biden, Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer created a brutal inflation crisis that’s here for the foreseeable future.
So instead of listening to the will of the people, Democrats are trying to ram more unhinged spending through Congress on their way out the door. It’s unprecedented for a party that was just removed from power to move a funding bill of this magnitude in a lame-duck session — it simply doesn’t happen. Pulling this heist as folks are getting ready for Christmas and not fully paying attention only adds insult to injury. It can be described only as utter contempt for the American people.
What we’re all witnessing is the Washington swamp at its absolute worst — the failed status quo in action. It’s why Congress has a 23% approval rating and 64% believe America is on the wrong track. It’s malpractice that these backroom multitrillion-dollar spending negotiations take place with complete disregard for our $31 trillion national debt or the ongoing inflation crisis. As taxpayers are struggling with the most expensive Christmas ever, Mr. Biden, Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer’s response is “Bah, humbug!” Republicans must say no to this Democrat-driven fiscal lunacy.
The last time America had a balanced budget was in the year 2001, and our national debt stood at $5 trillion. When Citizens United produced our documentary “Generation Zero” about the 2008 financial crisis, our debt was about $10 trillion. Now the national debt is a jaw-dropping $31 trillion.
As Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell might say, “Houston, we have a problem.” Yet members of Congress in both parties plow forward with their selfish spending wish lists without a care in the world. And there’s enough blame to go around. Liberal journalists in the corporate media cover the government funding drama without even mentioning the fiscal calamity that we as a country are careening toward.
But even if Mrs. Pelosi passes her latest omnibus monstrosity through the House on a party-line vote, all hope is not lost. It will take 41 Senate Republicans to stop the madness and vote for a return to regular order, and passing appropriations bills one at a time through a transparent and thoughtful amendment process. The best path forward is a simple one. Congress must pass a short-term continuing resolution that funds the government until Republicans take control of the House of Representatives early next year.
A continuing resolution isn’t a threat to national security, as some establishment actors suggest. But our $31 trillion national debt is a threat and it’s high time we start doing something about it for the sake of our children and grandchildren— and there’s no time like the present. Republican leaders in the House and Senate should lock arms and honor the wishes of the people.
This is a golden opportunity for the GOP to pick up the mantle of commonsense reform and run with it. Let’s retire the final Pelosi Congress to the ash heap of history and start the 118th Congress on the right foot. The American people demand fiscal responsibility.
• David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United, and he served as deputy campaign manager for Donald J. Trump for President.