If the Speaker of the House is serious about his insistence that any bill raising the debt ceiling must include spending cuts equal to the amount of new debt the federal government is allowed to incur, then GOP establishment hues and cries against the supposed recklessness of Sen. Mike Lee’s insistence that the next budget fund all government programs except for Obamacare should also be heard against the Boehner Rule.
After all, both strategies risk at least partial government shutdown at the hands of Democrats, President Barack Obama or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that the media will blame on Republicans. In fact, Boehner’s rule is arguably much more “risky” than Lee’s since the former applies to a critical source of funding necessary to avoid, if not actual default (since taxation always brings in funds sufficient to make interest payments), an inability to fund all entitlements and other government obligations. Lee’s budget strategy fully funds all government operations save for the most unpopular program ever foisted on the American people.
As we discussed yesterday, any budget strategy of the Loyal Opposition that does not promise eventual capitulation to a Chief Executive so reckless that he would welcome the chaos a long government shutdown would usher in, is feckless. Is the Boehner Rule feckless? Is it stated with a wink to Obama that says:
“You and I know we are not serious, and in the end, we can always fashion hundreds of pages in a bill that pretends to cut spending equal to the amount the debt ceiling is raised.”
There is no reason on God’s green earth that the spending cuts that Speaker Boehner insists be included in debt ceiling bill not be the de-funding of Obamacare. None, unless a majority of Republicans secretly favor making Obamacare as permanent as Social Security and Medicare. The stars for making opposition to Obamacare a Republican party cause couldn’t be aligned more in the GOP’s favor than now, except of course for the alignment just after the 2010 tea partier-fueled Republican mid-term election landslide that made it possible for John Boehner to be addressed as Mr. Speaker.
That opportunity to nip the socialization of one-sixth of the U.S. economy in the bud was wasted. We must not do this again. The possibility of America once again being a shining City on a Hill is at stake. Have any European cities on hills shined since they gave Big Government the power to control their lives in such a comprehensive way? Not hardly.
One of the more perplexing and inexplicable policy choices the Boehner-Cantor-Ryan leadership has made since re-gaining the power of the purse in 2011, has been to use debt ceiling votes as their near-exclusive tool to cut spending, rather than the budget process itself. What happened to “regular order” and surely there are enough Americans left that were taught “how a bill becomes a law” that a consistent message that the House bill funds ALL of government (including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and park rangers) except Obamacare and that a President that vetoes such a bill is the one responsible for shutting down the government?
It may well be that the GOP are the only adults in Washington and that the lack of enough of adults to turn out last Election Day is the reason that a man reckless enough to weather a long government shutdown is in the White House. But it is not “adult” behavior for Republicans to simply capitulate every time the unruly children pitch a hissy fit.
The GOP reminds me of myself at times when the child of a guest in my home acted up during the party I was hosting by breaking items, only to be cooed at by his incompetent parents. Too often, I just grinned and bore it. But the destruction wreaked upon my living room didn’t compare to the destruction Obamacare is wreaking on America everyday it’s not stopped.
Mike DeVine‘s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson