We hear a lot of talk about Russians interfering with the 2016 election results, but really, Republicans did the job for them.
What if I had told you during the 2016 elections that Republicans would pass a short-term budget bill funding the government and all its vices in a way that is absolutely indistinguishable from a bill Democrats would pass, merge it with a long-term bill funding the worst aspects of immigration, abortion, everything we hate about the Department of Education and Obamacare, massively increase spending, and then pair it with a bill funding the troops? What if I had told you we were about to lose the next election as severely as the 1974 “Watergate” election because Republicans were busy accomplishing the other side’s goals?
It’s bad enough that the Senate passed a “minibus” funding the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Education, attached to defense spending. It’s bad enough that Republicans planned on passing a stopgap continuing resolution (CR) locking in last year’s spending increase through December 7 without addressing the border crisis. Now they have introduced a final bill merging the two.
With every budget bill, Republicans find a way to up the ante on their perfidy and give Democrats more than they could get when they were in control. In 2015, when Republicans didn’t even control the veto pen, Chuck Schumer expressed shock that the GOP Senate gave away the farm. “If you would’ve told me this year that we’d be standing here celebrating the passage of an omnibus bill, with no poison pill riders, at higher [spending] levels above sequesters than even the president requested, I wouldn’t have believed it, but here we are,” said the Democrat senator in December 2015. “Almost anything the Republican leadership in the Senate achieved this year, they achieved on Democratic terms. … Democrats had an amazingly good year.”
And here we are today, with Republicans in control of the White House as well, and spending is several hundred billion dollars more.
A Republican Party that was committed to its platform would have passed a stand-alone defense and homeland security bill long ago with conservative priorities. Instead, Republicans sabotaged conservatives by holding defense spending hostage for a Democrat bill that fully funds the asylum invasion but not border security.
The HHS-Labor-Education component appropriates $178 billion for fiscal year 2019, $10.7 billion more than Trump requested. HHS would receive a 2.6 percent increase over the current record levels I decried in the March bill for fiscal year 2018. The bill also contains $286 million for Title X abortion funding, as well as $100 million for Obama’s “teen pregnancy prevention program.” They also removed a provision from the House version allowing adoption agencies the discretion not to place children in homes without a father and mother.
Rather than barring HHS from settling phony “unaccompanied” minors fueling the MS-13 and drug crisis, the bill requires HHS to “develop a strategy” for “reunifying” the invaders who self-separate from their kids to empower the drug cartels and endanger our country. We now have a Congress of, by, and for foreign invaders. It’s surreal. Out of 25 ideas that I proposed to protect Americans from the emergency of illegal immigration and all its cascading effects – from gangs and drugs to identity theft, crime, and the strain on schools – not a single conservative provision was put into the bill.
The increase in spending was totally gratuitous, because agencies were already scrambling to binge-spend an extra $140 billion they never anticipated at the start of the last fiscal year. Republicans agreed to massively increase spending halfway through the fiscal year in February and March after agencies already budgeted for much less.
With just 11 months of data from this fiscal year, we now know the deficit is $900 billion, already $233 billion more than the 12 months of fiscal year 2017. And remember, last year, which was the first year of full GOP control, already saw a $128 billion increase in spending over Obama’s final year. You will hear the media blame the tax cuts for most of the deficit, but the reality is that, for August, revenues were down $7 billion compared to August 2017, while outlays were up $100 billion! Interest on the debt is soaring. This is simply astounding given the condition of the economy.
Think about this for a moment. Could you imagine going back to 1996, when even moderate Republicans thought government was too big and our social values were decrepit? We would now give anything to go back to those levels of spending and policy values on health care and education. The Department of Education now costs $71 billion in discretionary spending alone, compared to $24 billion in 1996. HHS was $33 billion compared to $90.3 billion today, in discretionary spending alone. Back in 1996, the total cost of HHS, including the entitlement and welfare programs, was $333 billion. Now it’s well over $1.2 trillion.
That was when the entire federal budget was $1.5 trillion; now it’s $4.2 trillion. That was when we passed welfare reform. That was when we passed a massive immigration enforcement bill. And yes, that was without controlling the White House.
Now we have all three branches, and yet the Republicans are light-years to the left of Democrats of the ’90s.
At its core, this is the mentality that GOP voters despised when they voted for Trump, yet he has signed every budget betrayal and has declined to threaten a veto of this bill every day, even though he promised he’d never get owned in another budget bill and saw this coming a mile away.
At some point, phony conservative organizations and commentators need to step out of the soap opera and ask the question: All this for what? Perhaps a Watergate-style loss in November – all so we can die on left-wing policy hills – is what it will take for conservatives in this industry to finally wake up and reassert control over this party or start and new one. American citizens or legal immigrants who aren’t on the dole, don’t plan on getting a sex change operation or abortion, just want a fair chance in a free market, and want safety from external threats just don’t matter to either party. Faced with the current disquiet and a lack of alternatives, many voters will simply choose the party that is currently out of power to lodge their protest, even though Democrats are really in power in all but name only.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.