President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Target Center, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
If there’s one area President Trump has followed in his Republican predecessors’ footsteps, it’s on spending. Whether it was Ronald Reagan blowing out the budget (in contrast to the time) or George W. Bush increasing spending massively, the GOP has always pretended to care about spending until it’s time to actual take some hits. Then they inevitably fold and move on, always promising that the next time it will be different. .
Unfortunately, it looks like Trump is getting to repeat that cycle.
The latest 1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill includes all kinds of giveaways, from abortion funding to yet more benefits (paid family leave) for government workers, who already ride a gravy train most private sector employees can only dream of. Heck, the bill even manages to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes.
Here’s Rep. Chip Roy admonishing this monstrosity.
.@RepChipRoy on impeachment:
"My colleagues wax eloquent about the Constitution they found under mothballs. Where is respect for the Constitution when the people's house daily refuses to do its actual job while shredding federalism and limited government?" pic.twitter.com/yeL8E1WAPx
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) December 18, 2019
This bill is so bad that it only funds 70 miles of border fence, but gives four times as much money to Afghanistan for their security forces. This is the kind of insanity that permeates our policy making and spending. We can’t even pay our own debts, but we are shoveling more money into the bottomless pit that is Afghanistan. It’s mind-numbing.
The last time we went through this, the President promised the American people that he would never sign another bill like this again. Yet, all indications are that he will not only sign this latest bill, but do so will with glee because he supports things in it like paid family leave.
But it’s not just Trump. Where’s Mitch McConnell? I’m assured by every establishment Republican out there that he’s the greatest thing ever, and no doubt Cocaine Mitch has done some good things, but it’s up to Congress to lead the fight on spending. That’s their domain, not the President’s, who can only posture from the sidelines until it’s time to sign something.
Unfortunately, even if Trump did want to veto this bill, he couldn’t because he simply can’t afford another fight right now. That’s one of the consequences of the Democrats weaponizing impeachment as they have. Can you imagine any Republican taking the risk of a government shutdown right now? I can’t.
At some point Republicans have to get serious about this stuff again. I’m a realist in the sense that I understand there are always more pressing issues (at least on the surface) and the American people are deeply resistant to change, but handing the Democrats everything they want year after year because you are terrified of a government shutdown is not a sustainable strategy.
The President should veto this bill, even if he’s overridden. He won’t though, and that’s a failing that will have to be reckoned with eventually, even if the rest of his policy pursuits have been worthy of praise.