There’s a palpable chill in the air in Washington this week, and I’m not talking about the weather.
I’m talking about the icy forecast of our country’s fiscal stability and the possibility that Republicans could be complicit in creating such treacherous conditions.
For months, Republicans gave President Joe Biden’s social spending bill the accurate label: “the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree.” Republicans, in unison, opposed the $2 trillion spending spree Democrats passed this spring. But now, Republican leadership is pushing a bill to forgive all that spending.
According to the law that governs Congress’s budget process, this spending has to be offset by equal cuts from somewhere else. The law is called PAYGO. But Republican leadership and Democrats are going to waive PAYGO, allowing Biden’s spending spree to become debt instead of being offset by spending cuts.
This monstrosity of a bill also allows the debt ceiling to go up with a simple majority vote. Republican leadership, which ostensibly guards the filibuster, is allowing this bill to neuter the filibuster with respect to the debt ceiling. The bill sets a precedent that the debt ceiling can be raised without requiring a supermajority – a big concession.
Voters should be appalled that Republican leadership is basically giving Democrats their Christmas wish list on a silver platter. This horrible “deal” they concocted gives Democrats an easy path to raise the debt ceiling using expedited procedures and would enable even more reckless spending.
The current debt limit is $28.9 trillion. That’s essentially the limit on America’s credit card. What happens when you don’t pay the balance of your credit card bill? You pay interest charges. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now projects that interest costs on our debt will be $5.4 trillion over 10 years, and the projected deficit for this year is $1.1 trillion.
We cannot afford to raise the debt limit without meaningful spending reform. Continued reckless spending is dangerous to the health of our country and our national security. Simply put, the bill provides reckless spenders with a blank check and sends the country further down a dangerous path that threatens a future of confiscatory tax rates, low employment prospects, and high inflation.
I hate to say it, but I told you so.
In March, I tried to force Congress to follow the rules it had set for itself and pay for new COVID spending by enforcing PAYGO rules. Speaking from the Senate floor, I noted that “big spenders like to say the federal government is different than a family budget and that we have the Federal Reserve who can print up money to buy our debt. But all that does is cause inflation.”
And what do you know, just as I predicted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that inflation hit 6.2% – the highest level in a generation.
Ready for the worst part of all this? If the Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending bill passes this year, it won’t be subject to the mandatory PAYGO cuts. Republicans would literally be facilitating Biden and the Democrats’ priorities.
I’ve often said that both Republicans and Democrats are at fault for the spending crisis in Washington, and this case is no different. Republicans ought to stop assisting the Democrats in playing their reckless game of kick-the-can-down-the-road and resist this bizarre attempt to facilitate their agenda.
I have tried to warn of the dire forecast for our nation if we continue with this fiscal insanity. And while I may not be a meteorologist, I can see when a storm is brewing. Congress ought to join me in keeping an eye on the horizon and act before it’s too late.
You can read the op-ed HERE.