Governing is very different from hiding behind millions of dollars of Soros special-interest ads. Democrats have won the House majority, but they never won votes in most parts of the country while being honest about their true intentions, particularly not in the Republican districts they flipped. That is why, in their very first vote today, they will adopt a rule that will enable them to automatically abolish the debt limit without having to stand before their constituents and actually take a vote on raising or suspending the debt ceiling.
The first vote the House will take today after the election of the speaker is to adopt the rules package that will govern the procedures of the House for the next two years. Naturally, the majority party will always control that package and orient it to their priorities. Among the rules changes Democrats will enact is to revive the old “Gephardt rule” (Rule XXVIII in this package) and expand on it so that they don’t have to take a tough vote on the debt limit later this spring. Under the Gephardt rule, as soon as the House and the Senate adopt an annual budget resolution in the spring, it automatically suspends the debt limit law for the duration of that budget blueprint. Thus, they never have to take an official vote actually raising or suspending the debt ceiling.
But this time, Democrats made it worse.
Obviously, Republicans control the Senate and are unlikely to cooperate with a Democrat-passed budget resolution from the House, so any Democrat budget will not become law under a concurrent resolution. To that end, for the first time in congressional history, Democrats are deeming just the House-passed resolution (without the Senate) as if the debt ceiling law was suspended for that chamber, thereby shielding their members from taking a separate vote.
The debt has increased by $8 trillion since the last time Pelosi sat in the speaker’s chair, yet her concern is apparently not with mortgaging our future but with the statutory stop sign on driving up more debt. The debt limit is officially coming due on March 1, but with Treasury’s ability to shift payments, it could probably extend that time by two months or so before it triggers a robust debate in Congress.
Democrats in the House, at that time, would have to stand before the American people and embarrass themselves not only by raising the debt at a time of record debt, but also by giving a Republican president a blank check. It’s one thing for them to pass a blank check for a president of their own party, but don’t they want to give Trump trouble? Evidently, growing government is even more important to them than combatting Trump. This is why they don’t want to take a vote, forcing the Senate to act unilaterally in the spring.
It truly is appalling and indefensible for Democrats to ignore that the debt is even a problem. Within a few years, just the interest payments on the debt will equal the cost of the military and then surpass it. This is all taxpayer money that goes in the garbage. Even if one subscribes to voodoo Keynesian economics – that somehow, it’s worth spending money distorting markets and creating dependency – nobody can suggest it’s a good idea to spend money that goes to waste.
But not only do Democrats plan to ignore the debt, they intend to heap on the gravy train by passing even more socialist entitlements on health care and education that further entrench the very wealthy private monopolies they claim to despise. As such, were they forced to deal with the debt ceiling directly, they’d only have one choice to offer Americans – a massive tax increase. Even such an increase would never cover the size of government they want to sustain. So they are opting to bypass the debate altogether.
This is where conservatives in the House and Senate (the few left) need to begin working on a new “taxpayer bill of rights” to rally behind in the coming debt ceiling fight, at least in the Senate. It’s time to finally restore and build upon the promises of 1980 and 1994 to stop wasting taxpayer funds creating special interest monopolies under the guise of the public good. It’s time for a true balanced budget plan. It’s time they finally got righteous on the issue of debt so that Democrats are forced to defend the indefensible in broad daylight.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.