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President Trump’s Dubious Deal On The Debt Ceiling

Many conservatives are aghast that President Trump appears to have made a deal with the big spenders on Capitol Hill to raise the debt ceiling and pass a spending bill that is in considerable excess of his budget proposal.

However, presidents always want a “clean” debt ceiling increase, devoid of congressional restrictions on their fiscal freedom of action, so Trump’s antipathy toward congressional exercise of the power of the purse is Congressmerely the latest battle in a war between the executive and legislative branches of government that goes back to the foundation of the Republic.

What concerns us more is the decision to push the final budget battle to December, the traditional time when Congress packages bad legislation into midnight “Omnibus” bills that are laden with pork and funding for anti-conservative programs and policy.

Nine conservative organizations have recently released an open letter to congressional leaders documenting the federal government’s dire fiscal situation and demanding spending reform.

“Since rejecting a debt limit increase in May 2011, the total public debt has grown by roughly $5.5 trillion, from $14.344 trillion to $19.844 trillion. Moreover, the long-term unfunded liabilities threaten economic growth and prosperity,“ said the letter signed by Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks; David McIntosh, President, The Club for Growth; Michael Needham, Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Action; David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance; Richard Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government; Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment; Judson Phillips, President, Tea Party Nation; Jonathan Bydlak, President, Coalition to Reduce Spending; Wayne Crews, Vice President for Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute; and, Brooke Rollins, CEO  Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The letter made the compelling argument that back in 2011, when Obama was President, Republicans were all opposed to raising the debt ceiling and promised not to raise it without corresponding fiscal reforms.

We like where the letter is coming from, especially its many quotes from Republican leaders promising spending reform, but we are reminded that the 2011 debt ceiling deal was a complete sham.

During their 2010 campaign to regain control of the House, Republicans promised $100 billion in real spending cuts, but in 2011 they compromised with the Democrats for $38.5 billion in future saving claiming that the deal would result in "the biggest annual spending cut in history," as President Obama termed it.

Yet, as then-Senator Jim DeMint later noted, there was no reduction in spending.

Here’s what really happened when the fiscal year ended on September 30, 2011 – the Congressional Budget Office found that the April deal to avoid a government shutdown resulted in an increase of more than $170 billion in federal spending from 2010 to 2011.

Hailed by Paul Ryan and other leaders of both political parties and the establishment media, as a historic compromise that produced the “largest spending cut in history” the deal ended up being a spending increase and the federal government wrapped up its biggest spending year and its second biggest annual budget deficit ever but, as The Wall Street Journal put it, almost nobody noticed.

Perhaps The Wall Street Journal should have said no one noticed the lie upon which the spending deal was founded, because Paul Ryan and everyone on the inside knew there would be no decrease in spending and the historic or as liberal Democrats falsely termed them, “draconian budget cuts” would actually result in the federal government spending $3.6 trillion – a 4.2 percent increase in outlays that also increased the annual deficit to $1.298 trillion.

For all practical purposes scheduling the final action on spending during December all but guarantees that no real spending reform will take place. We see another sham spending deal coming, because none of the Republican leaders on Capitol Hill really wants to cut spending.

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