BREAKING NEWS, JUNE 21, 2018: Just as discussed below in item #3, last night the Republican controlled Senate failed to pass the $15 Billion "Claw Back" Rescission Bill. These are unspent dollars that could go to reducing our dangerous deficit. Two Republican Senators were responsible for this hypocrisy--Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Burr of North Carolina. The time window to pass this budget cut expires tomorrow. No wonder the call for Congressional Term Limits.
Post #7, Bob McKnight's Subscription Commentary.
Maybe Christmas Has Come Early for the Republicans.
The GOP was uncomfortable, as the Party in power in both Houses, passing the bloated $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Bill. Even President Donald Trump was obviously torn by the excesses after promising to bring a business like approach to Washington. Since there is certainly enough pork in the budget for just about every Congressional wish list, few think there is a courageous voice out there to work on correcting the problem--on either side of the aisle. Both parties were complicit in the pig out.
But wait. Conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan found a seldom used provision in law that could mean Christmas in April for the Republicans. No it is not the Line Item Veto that all Presidents have sought for years. It is called 1974 Impoundment Act. Under the law, the President can order the rescission of specific items in the budget, so long as Congress approves those cuts within 45 days. And a bonus. The Congressional action is by a simple majority vote--no filibuster. With the GOP controlling both houses, it is like falling off a log.
Not so fast my friend. First, the Impoundment Act has only resulted in a piddly $25 Billion in savings in the almost 50 years of the law. Why? What could possibly stop the GOP from saying they are the party of No this election cycle? They could say, "Yes we passed the bloated budget torpedoing the deficit, but we went back and cut out all the Democratic projects--the fat." Wahoo. But, here is why this Christmas present might not work for the Republicans:
1. President Trump is impetuous. If he were to move on Congressional projects without thorough consultation among the GOP leaders, the cuts would never become law. The Christmas present would backfire and smack of gross mismanagement by the Republicans, up for election.
2. For the few in Washington urging Bi-Partisanship, this would be the final dagger in the governance process. Republicans will most likely target their Democratic colleagues for the cuts, ruining the small bit of progress made on working together across the aisle to find solutions.
3. It may be nearly impossible for the greedy members of the GOP to avoid adding riders and amendments to the cuts, so they can finally sneak in their passed over pet projects into law. Sort of their 'Going Home" legislation. This hypocrisy, if discovered, may doom the GOP Mid Term elections by itself.
Damn, Christmas in April sounded so good.