Congress Fail

Budget Committee Chairman Says They Must Pass Their Horrible, Terrible Joke Budget

While the Flying Monkey Freedom Caucus has voted to oppose House leadership because their budget doesn't go far enough, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) says Republicans have a responsibility to pass a budget that has no chance in hell of being signed by the president.

“Congress must not cede even more power to the executive branch by forgoing our responsibility to budget,” House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said in his opening remarks of a markup that typically lasts past midnight.

“We also cannot surrender to the status quo and fail to act boldly when the times demand it and the American people demand it,” Price said.

Here's a good question: what exactly does Chairman Price believe the American people are demanding?

Bob Greenstein over at the Center on Budget and Policy Priories has taken a look at the budget being floated by House Republican leadership and it apparently includes all of the worst proposals Republicans have bandied about over the past six years including, but not limited to, repealing Obamacare.

This is Paul Ryan's Path to Poverty with a fresh coat of paint.

It would repeal health reform (i.e., the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), undo much of the Dodd-Frank law (including its Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and frustrate efforts to address climate change. On the latter, it attacks EPA rules to reduce global warming, cuts the EPA budget, eliminates Amtrak operating funding (which would likely mean more driving), and cuts mass transit funds — all while providing more tax incentives for oil and gas exploration.

Their fantasy budget would also cut anti-poverty programs by trillions.

These programs would be cut a stunning $3.5 trillion over ten years, eliminating, by 2026, roughly 40 percent of federal resources for low-income assistance. Although low-income programs account for 28 percent of federal domestic-program spending (i.e., spending on everything except defense and interest payments on the debt), they would bear about 60 percent of the cuts in the House budget. [...]

The budget would make tens of millions more Americans uninsured by repealing the ACA (without putting anything in its place) and cutting Medicaid more than another $1 trillion over ten years on top of that. [...]

Also hit hard would be non-defense discretionary programs, which include everything outside defense, entitlement programs, and interest payments. The budget would cut non-defense discretionary programs and services by roughly $1 trillion over ten years below the levels under the harsh sequestration budget cuts.

Is this what Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price believes the American people are demanding?

As horrible as this all may seem, it's evidently not horrible enough for the Freedom Caucus which voted on Monday to oppose this budget because it doesn't go far enough. Even if the Freedom Caucus supported this budget, there's no way the president is going to sign any portion of it into law and that's assuming any individual element could even survive a filibuster in the Senate. Vulnerable incumbents also may not be interested in passing massive spending cuts in an election year.

I was going to say this budget is a bad joke, but it's actually pretty goddamn funny.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently said he conferred with likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and urged cooperation on a positive agenda to present to the American people. Is this Paul Ryan's big idea? Is this his positive agenda? Who is asking for this?

Donald Trump isn't running in favor of massive spending cuts. In fact, just before Trump won the Florida Republican primary, he spoke to a large crowd about protecting Medicaid and Social Security from cuts.

The prospect of Republican voters voting for someone who won't tell them wealth trickles down may alarm establishment Republicans more than any of Trump's racist rhetoric.

  • muselet

    This is all a vaguely amusing bit of Beltway Kabuki. There are 40 members of the House Freedumb Caucus, so the Rs couldn’t pass this hog waste lagoon of a budget proposal on the House floor even if Tom Price somehow managed to get it out of committee.

    I am, as ever, surprised the House Rs can agree on something as inconsequential as lunch orders.

    –alopecia

    • JMAshby

      What’s interesting is the Freedom Caucus is the most radical wing in Congress but, for the most part, they’re moving in the opposite direction of voters supporting Trump. If Republican voters were moving in the Freedom Caucus direction, they would be supporting Ted Cruz. As things stand now, Cruz would need to win 80% of remaining GOP delegates to win the nomination. Trump needs about 50% of remaining delegates.

      The Freedom Caucus is pushing an agenda that very few of their own base supports.

      • muselet

        The GOP has accustomed its followers to supporting the candidate who yowls the loudest about The Other. In years past, that would have been someone like Ted Cruz; this year, Donald Trump can out-shout every other potential candidate and had name recognition right from the go.

        Under different circumstances, I might be laughing about the Republican Establishment being out-demagogued by a reality TV personality who’s incapable of speaking without lying.

        –alopecia