Conservatives are about to get hosed on spending, debt, and health care

· February 7, 2018  
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Mitch McConnell
Alex Wong | Getty Images

Amid the growing bombshells about FBI career bureaucrats who wanted to influence the outcome of the election, there is another brewing election scandal being overlooked by the conservative base. It is the scandal of Democrats winning the election even when more ballots were cast for Republicans. Voters voted for the Republican platform, and out popped Democrat policies. And nobody can blame the FBI or Russia for this scandal.

At a time when a sane GOP majority could be accomplishing so many historical reforms piggybacking off the tax cuts, Republicans are about to bust the budget caps, bail out Obamacare, and help the hospital cartel, all while on their way to championing open borders and amnesty. The House already passed a budget continuing resolution (CR) yesterday, funding the government through March 23, but rather than cutting spending and defunding Planned Parenthood or sanctuary cities, they increased spending by $12 billion. In addition, here are the contours of the two-year budget agreement between Schumer and McConnell.

1) Republicans plan to deep-six the Budget Control Act (BCA) and bust the budget caps by at least $300 billion over the next two years. They plan to increase defense spending by $80 billion and non-defense spending by $63 billion for FY 2018 and by $80 billion and $68 billion respectively for FY 2019. Pursuant to the 2011 BCA, the caps for 2018 were set at $549 billion for defense and $516 billion for nondefense, but will now be increased to $629 billion and $579 billion respectively.

Many of the programs being increased, such as health care programs and community block grants, are the very ones Trump promised to cut in his budget blueprint last year.

Because Republicans so desperately want more and more military spending – over and beyond what Trump’s budget blueprint called for – without first auditing the waste in the Pentagon and getting control of the runaway Middle East urban renewal projects, they have allowed Democrats to milk them on non-defense spending. As House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said yesterday, “the budget caps are our leverage.”

Just this week, it was reported that the Pentagon can’t account for $800 million in lost funds. Also, the inspector general for operations in Iraq and Syria confirmed last week that nine M1 Abrams tanks fell into the hands of Iran through our ridiculous policy of arming the Shiite-dominated Iraqi forces being led directly by IRGC commander Qasem  Soleimani. Then again, we are directly allowing M1 Abrams tanks to fall in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Could we first have a national discussion on our funding of enemies, the Afghan pedophile forces, and waste at the Pentagon before we destroy our entire budget, including massive spending increases on non-defense programs? If “defense hawks” would do their job and actually delve into the policies of the Defense Department, it would make appropriations a lot easier and would pre-empt Democrats from using it as blackmail to increase other spending.

2) After reauthorizing CHIP for 6 years despite the fact that even Obamacare drafters envisioned it expiring because everyone under 400 percent of the poverty level was subsidized anyway, they now plan to extend it for another four years. This is a full 10 years more of a program without any reforms and without repealing even part of Obamacare that overlaps with it.

3) Republicans included a provision in the CR to reinstate another $5 billion in DSH (disproportioned share hospital) payments designed to compensate hospitals for emergency and indigent care that goes unpaid by patients. The problem is that just like Obamacare subsidies were designed to obviate the need for CHIP, the Medicaid expansion, which is now a cash cow for the big hospital conglomerates, was designed to eliminate the need for DSH. Now the cartel says “jump” and Republicans ask “how high?” Hospitals are growing by leaps and bounds because of the $560 billion Medicaid program and record profits without paying taxes, but the cartel always needs more.

4) The framework would reauthorize $7 billion for community health centers. In a true free-market health care world, community health care centers would be a great alternative to the insurance cartel and government programs for treating the indigent. There are many innovative ideas being proposed in state legislatures, such as offering tax incentives to physicians and medical device providers who serve them. The problem is, once again, if we are keeping government-run health care, why do we need to continue all of the pre-Obamacare programs as well? Republicans won’t even use it as leverage to exact any free-market health care changes in return for more spending on government programs.

5) The debt limit will be breached in mid-March. One would think that after going on a spending binge, Republicans would at least compensate for it by using the debt limit as leverage to enact welfare reform. Instead, they plan to unilaterally raise it until after the election in exchange for … nothing. But what’s another trillion-dollar deficit between friendly parties?

6) Not only are they not repealing Obamacare, there is a parallel agreement to pass the insurance bailout to grow the “reinsurance program,” despite the fact that the insurance cartel is flush with cash. This will further entrench their monopoly and ability to gouge those who aren’t getting subsidized and merely want the freedom to go to any doctor with the plan of their choice without a government-created cartel.

7) Oh, and we forgot to mention the $80 billion in disaster relief.

8) Oh, and we forgot the massive, porkulous “infrastructure” plan that should be devolved to the states but will instead bankrupt us further by entrenching the failed federal transportation system.

9) Oh, and we forgot the Rubio-Lee-Earnst Ivankacare plan to create a new federal entitlement of paid family leave. But fear not, it will all come from Social Security and will never transform into a standalone program once created with bipartisan support.

10) Next week, McConnell will bring up an immigration bill and will start out with essentially a blank piece of paper. So rather than only bringing the president’s plan or the Goodlatte plan for a vote, he will not take a side as party leader to support the president and the GOP party platform.

Republicans are launching a new New Deal during a time of economic growth.

Now is the time for the Freedom Caucus to shine and demonstrate its value in draining the swamp and providing a counter-narrative for the forgotten men and women of this country. It’s time for hardball and big-picture focus with policy entrepreneurship that will demolish the entire premise of this framework, not just nibble around the edges.

It wasn’t the Russians who changed the outcome of the election. It was the duplicity of the GOP.


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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.