Once again, Congress has blown past the end of the fiscal year without passing appropriations bills, thus setting up a government spending fight just before Christmas.
The defeated outgoing Democratic House majority is hoping some Hollywood-style flair will hide their true aim; namely, to stuff trillions of dollars in new spending down the throats of the American public.
There is, however, no need for such theatrics.
Congress can simply pass a short-term continuing resolution to extend current federal spending levels into early 2023. Extending funding levels into the new Congress would respect the voters and let the new House majority set spending levels.
As you’d imagine, the specter of a fiscally responsible Congress has alarmed the outgoing leftist majority. Since the election, Democrats have been feverishly trying to get their Christmas wish list omnibus spending bill passed and signed into law in the lame-duck session.
Never before has the outgoing defeated majority abused the lame-duck session to pass an omnibus bill. Shockingly, however, this time they seem to have an unlikely ally: Some of the Republican congressional leaders.
The Senate Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has backed the idea of a lame-duck omnibus, indicating that “the four corners”—a reference to leadership of both major parties in both chambers of Congress—have been working together on such a bill.
That would be an insult to the American people, who voted the old majority out of office and rejected their modus operandi of using the force of government to take hard-earned dollars from American workers and give them to their donors and favored political and crony corporate interests.
Though many of the details of the proposed omnibus are murky, we know the deal includes yet another year of dramatic discretionary spending increases, despite dramatic hikes in spending over the past few years.
Since 2019, the annual level of discretionary spending has increased a whopping $384 billion. Discretionary spending has increased roughly twice as fast as the size of the economy in the past three years.
This, however, is only a fraction of what Congress has set in motion. Discretionary spending increases in one year ripple into much larger deficits over time. As such, this latest three-year binge will likely increase federal spending and deficits over the next decade by $4.9 trillion—$37,000 per household—with more than $620 billion of that in interest on the debt alone.
Even if a new omnibus slows the absurd rate of growth of nondefense discretionary spending, it won’t be enough to avoid fiscal catastrophe. A limited-growth omnibus would do nothing to mitigate the staggering recent increases in discretionary spending or their contribution to an interest-cost spiral.
At a time when most American families have struggled, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and a $7,400 inflation tax, Congress exacerbated their burdens by dramatically increasing spending. That has contributed to inflation and drained investment out of the hands of the private sector, further increasing consumer prices and stunting wages and economic growth.
Each dollar increase in the level of federal spending means an increased burden on the American public. These casual spending increases created pressure for the Fed to print trillions of dollars, devaluing your paycheck and savings, and raising prices at the pump and at grocery stores.
With the Fed now trying to rein in inflation, the massive volume of federal spending and deficits has led to crowding out, where the massive volume of government borrowing leaves less room for entrepreneurs to access lending markets to get the funding they need to grow.
That has slowed the building of new factories and businesses, and deepened the current recession.
What’s more, as funds dry up, it pushes interest rates sky-high. Over the past year, mortgage rates have more than doubled—meaning that, over the lifetime of a loan, a new mortgage on a median home will cost $300,000 more in interest than a similar mortgage just a year ago.
As Americans are being pummeled by the consequences of Congress’ reckless fiscal policy, Congress is planning yet another omnibus that increases discretionary spending.
Enough is enough. There is no need for such a careless and rushed omnibus. Conservatives in Congress could pass a short-term continuing resolution and carefully write new appropriations bills at the beginning of next year.
Conservatives should work to cut corrupt and wasteful programs to fund core constitutional responsibilities, such as national defense, and to actually reduce the deficit and lift fiscal and economic burdens off the backs of American families.
However, if Republican congressional leadership isn’t willing to do that and gives up its power, and instead works with Democrats to further the Democrats’ agenda, how would they be any different from the outgoing leftist majority, other than in name only?
Is this truly the reward the American people have earned for voting to flip control of the House?
Article cross-posted from Daily Signal.