What a way for the GOP-controlled Congress to end the legislative mandate given to them in 2014. It can truly be said that whereas Democrats are the Navy SEALs of political combat, Republicans are the NAVY SEALs of political capitulation. They managed to give Democrats everything they wanted in both houses, got it all passed by violating their own rules, and left town to campaign for re-election so they can … er … well … ahh … beat Democrats and … er … well … enact some more Democrat policies.
The Senate voted first Wednesday afternoon and passed the budget continuing resolution (CR) 72-26. Only 14 of the 54 Republicans voted no, and presumably, not all for conservative reasons. The 14 GOP noes were as follows:
This bill funded every major Democratic policy priority with no meaningful limitations on a single illegal, abusive, or harmful executive action taken by the president. It contained no limitations or reforms to Obamacare, Planned Parenthood funding, Obama’s transgender bathroom mandate on the states, sanctuary cities, or DACA amnesty. What was particularly disturbing about this blank check is that the timing of the budget deadline coincided with two new harmful unilateral policies of the Obama administration: the giveaway of oversight over internet IP addresses to a foreign entity and a net increase in refugee admission for the new fiscal year — all on top of the existing increase in refugees from the Middle East during a time of grave homeland security concerns.
The budget bill also reflected Obama’s spending priorities instead of the spending figures reflected in the Republican budget. It wasted $1.1 billion on Zika funding that was unnecessary and funded Planned Parenthood with those extra funds. While one expects compromise with divided government, this blank check was truly breathtaking in completely reflecting Democrat values — as if Republicans had no control over Congress.
And in fact, things have gotten worse since Republicans won control of the Senate in 2014. Whereas before 2015 Harry Reid only controlled the Senate, now he controls both the Senate and the House. At least when Democrats controlled the Senate, the House had to pretend to put up a fight. Now they just follow McConnell’s, R-Ky. (F, 42%) lead, which is Reid’s command.
Thus, the House rolled over and slammed the bill on the floor without three days to consult with the members. Rather than working with conservatives to craft a Republican bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. (F, 53%) and Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. (F, 38%)sandbagged their members with Reid’s, D-Nev. (F, 2%) steaming pile. The CR passed the House by a 342-85 margin. Only 75 Republicans voted no, a mere 30 percent of the House GOP Conference.
Adding insult to injury, House Republicans also gave in to the final demand of Democrats by passing a massive federalized water bill, which added new programs without cutting existing ineffective programs or devolving programs that are not national in scope to the states. Over 100 Republicans joined with Democrats to add a bailout for Flint, Michigan to the water bill, even though there is already ample state and federal funding to fix Flint’s water problems.
Then, the Congresscritters summarily got out of town before the night ended. As if to say, “our work is done.”
In some sense it would be a saving grace if this was the end of the 114th Congress. If they will not use their power to check and balance the other two branches, at least do no harm. Unfortunately, by having this bill expire in December, Republicans gave Harry Reid one more election-year present — a lame-duck session with massive spending bills and jailbreak legislation. And with December being his last month before retirement, one could only imagine Reid’s demands of Republicans in order to afford them the privilege of his acceptance of their capitulation.
Republicans will now campaign in their respective states and districts by inveighing against the broken system in Washington and a Democrat Party that is dangerous for our national security, spends too much money, and grows government. Time will tell if their constituents fall for it.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.