July 13, 2024

Possibly some of you who are around my age (early fifties) recall a saying that was used back in the day and went a little like this:

Wish in one hand and s*** in the other and see which one fills up first.

Advertisement

If the GOP members of the House of Representatives continue on their course of wishing for something that is not going to happen in this term, they’re going to find out how fast the other hand fills up, and they will be a minority party in short order.

I like to use this analogy a bit on my LIVE Facebook Show just for effect.

What I’m talking about of course is the upcoming endless budget showdown drama which, after the last extension, ended the speakership of Kevin McCarthy. Before I go into the meat of the article, let me bring you up to speed on where we are ahead of this Friday’s deadline with an article from my colleague Bonchie:

Mike Johnson Unveils His New Budget Plan, and It’s Already Causing Controversy

The plan involves what is being dubbed a “ladder CR,” which essentially breaks the normal process down into two steps. That’s being done in an attempt to appease the budget hawks in the GOP caucus. 

Just two and a half weeks into the job, Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., opted to go with a two-step continuing resolution, or CR, over a more typical funding extension covering the entire federal government. The untested funding approach is aimed at appeasing far-right agitators in his GOP conference who despise CRs.

The controversy comes in when you consider whether this actually means anything different than just passing a regular continuing resolution. While this novel CR approach would split the expiration dates up, with some facets expiring on January 19th and other facets expiring on February 2nd, one big problem remains: There are no budget cuts. 

In other words, there appears to be precious little difference between this approach and the one that got former Rep. Kevin McCarthy booted from the Speakership in early October. Rep. Chip Roy immediately voiced his opposition to Johnson’s move.

“It’s a 100% clean. And I 100% oppose,” Roy tweeted. “My opposition to the clean CR just announced by the Speaker to the @HouseGOP cannot be overstated. Funding Pelosi level spending & policies for 75 days — for future “promises.”

Advertisement

The opposition to continuing resolutions is fully understandable and damn near 100 percent futile at this time.

This is the part of the sausage-making that I went over with some articles I wrote during the three-week fisticuffs about who would replace Kevin McCarthy. As long as Democrats control the Senate and the White House, the most well-meaning Republicans in the world are going to get shut down on trying to cut anything or change the way to move bills at this time.

From Get Ready to Hate the New Speaker, Part II — Even Though You Really Shouldn’t:

The House of Representatives is tasked with creating spending bills and passing them on to the Senate, but that does not mean that the Senate has to accept those bills as they are. A lot of times, continuing resolutions are used and are just a mishmash of bills that they just go ahead and pass — sometimes with a lot of changes, sometimes with none — just to keep the federal government’s doors open and everything operating.

Once again, in my earlier piece 

The End of Continuing Resolutions

This is something so common sense that it’s hard to believe that we’re still talking about it in 2023. 

However, we are discussing a body politic in Washington, DC, that treats common sense like sunlight treats a vampire. They seemingly run from it as fast as they can, and this is not just Democrats but some Republicans as well as this is a common theme among all of them.

I know there was a moment within my lifetime when individual appropriation bills were still being done, and we weren’t having the hodgepodge of funding bills on top of funding bills to get something passed to keep everything moving. But this ended a very long time ago and there’s a reason why.

Individual Appropriations are much easier to scrutinize than having to go through 1,500 or 2,000 pages of something dumped on you at 2:00 in the morning.

Now this is in my opinion only my opinion is why 9 percent of Congress is totally happy with this because stuffed inside those bills are things that they can go back home to the taxpayer and say, “Look at what I did.” Ultimately every congressperson is judged on how much bacon they bring back from the slaughterhouse of Washington, DC.

Now the reason why this will not change under the new speaker is because of a little process that is hardly ever talked about called reconciliation. 

The act as defined by the Congressional Budget Office:

Budget reconciliation is an expedited process for considering bills that would implement policies embodied in a Congressional budget resolution. Since 1980, the first year the process took place, many laws have been enacted through budget reconciliation—for example, the 2017 tax act (Public Law 115-97) and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2). This page shows CBO’s publications related to the reconciliation process that has occurred since the fall of 2021, pursuant to the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022 (S. Con. Res. 14). That process culminated in the enactment of P.L. 117-169 on August 22, 2022.

Advertisement

I absolutely have no doubt that Representative Chip Roy from Texas is 100 percent sincere here and that he’s just looking for some cuts for the continuing resolutions that are still spending at 2022-2023 levels, which was when Nancy Pelosi was speaker. I have no doubt that a number of Republicans in the House would happily vote for that.

But I seriously doubt you’re going to get any budget cuts and then also change the continuing resolutions at this time. 

You might get one, but I don’t think you’re getting both.

Chuck Schumer, as the Senate Majority Leader, can sit on any bill that the House sends over and just watch it gather dust. Joe Biden, who is currently wandering around the White House looking for his next ice cream cone, doesn’t have to have any of his staff guide his shaky old hand to sign any bill into law that his staff deems they don’t want.

So, the Democrats currently have the House Republicans jammed in two different places.

This is why I mentioned in the above article that I don’t have a problem with any inner-party fighting with Republicans — or even Democrats — that slows down or shuts down a branch of government, as that means they can’t do any damage to the American people.

Yet the fight that happened when Matt Gaetz decided to oust McCarthy should have been done back in January and not now. You are now 11-and-a-half months away from a presidential election, with all 435 House Seats being up and at least a third of the Senate.

Advertisement

The time for grandstanding was back in January of this year and not in September or October for some vapid victory that, at the end of the day, is not going to change the debt or how bills are passed.

This is the part that people do not understand, and it absolutely drives me bonkers.

Washington, DC, and all of its departments are set to run on cruise control. If you want to change that, you damn near have to have supermajorities in both the House and the Senate and a president who knows what the hell they’re doing.

The last time we had that was in 2009-2010 when the Democrats laid down on the railroad track and forced through Obamacare, which they paid a political price for. We are still stuck with that monstrosity today.

You are not changing the culture of Washington, DC, and the nature of continuing resolutions with the addiction to spending with a four-seat lead in the House of Representatives, a one-seat lead for the Democrats in the Senate, and a tottering old codger who does not know that he’s president at least 30 percent of the day.

That is the reality of the day-to-day situation in the nation’s capital as we speak today.

The GOP needs to gather as much info on Biden Inc. with their subpoena power to have a shot at shredding anyone with a D after their name next November. Then they need to keep the Republican House (hopefully), gain a Republican Senate (possibly), and win the White House. 

Advertisement

Then do the circular firing squad with CRs and spending like was done from 2017 until 2018.

Until then, you can keep wishing, but I already told you which hand will fill up first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *