Terry Jeffrey
Americans who follow the workings of our government -- even if only casually -- presumably know that the Republican Party took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2010 elections.

Fewer likely know that the Republican-controlled House gained a veto over federal spending on March 4, 2011.

Fewer still may know that from March 4, when the Republican-controlled House gained that veto over spending, through Nov. 14, the national debt increased by $795,257,695,953.36.

That works out to about $6,766 each for what the Census Bureau estimates are 117,538,000 American households.

Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution says: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law." That means that unless both houses of Congress approve legislation that authorizes the executive branch to spend money, the executive branch cannot spend that money.

In December of last year, the lame-duck Democrat-controlled Congress approved, and President Barack Obama signed, a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through March 4 of this year.

On Jan. 5, the new House of Representatives convened. A Republican-majority took control of the chamber and elected Rep. John Boehner of Ohio speaker of the House.

On March 1, the Republican-majority House approved a continuing resolution to keep the government-funded from March 4 through March 18. Since then, Republican congressional leaders have negotiated a series of continuing resolutions with President Obama and congressional Democrats to keep the government funded.

The latest continuing resolution will expire Friday, and the Republicans will pass yet another spending bill they will have negotiated with the Democrats.

Since March 4, federal spending has no longer been a Democrat-only responsibility -- as it essentially was in the previous Congress. Since March 4, federal spending has been the result of a Republican-Democrat partnership.

Liberals and establishment media figures often decry "gridlock" in Washington and suggest the system does not work because Congress does not enact more legislation.

But what we have had in Washington this year is the opposite of gridlock. We have had free-flowing spending, authorized by legislation approved by the leaders of both parties. This spending has far outstripped the significant tax revenues the government has extracted during the period from working Americans and has driven the nation vastly deeper into debt.

At the close of business on March 4, when the first Republican-backed CR took effect, the federal debt stood at $14,182,627,184,881.03. That equaled about $120,664 for every household in the country.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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