Pathetic: Divided House Dems Won't Even Try to Pass a Budget, Demand Across-the-Board Spending Increases

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Posted: Apr 04, 2019 10:25 AM
Pathetic: Divided House Dems Won't Even Try to Pass a Budget, Demand Across-the-Board Spending Increases

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In the early stages of her current Speakership, Nancy Pelosi was celebrated in the media for exerting tight control over her new House majority.  That discipline has since slipped considerably, with many rank-and-file members siding with Republicans on motions to recommit (will any Democrats sign onto a GOP-led discharge petition to force an anti-infanticide vote?), followed by a disgraceful and shambolic attempt to condemn anti-Semitism within their ranks.  With hardcore progressives now going to war with the DCCC over its incumbent protection policies, and Pelosi tossing cold water on radical proposals like the Green New Deal and single-payer healthcare, it looks like House leadership has decided that attempting to craft and introduce an annual budget would rip their caucus apart.  So they're not going to try.  Governance:

Democrats are finally in charge of the House. But they’re likely to skip one of their most fundamental responsibilities: passing a budget. Eager to steer clear of another public intraparty battle, House Democrats are expected to avoid a vote on a budget this year, multiple Democratic lawmakers and aides tell POLITICO. House Democrats are still drafting a budget, which would offer their first chance as a new majority to formally outline their broader agenda. But the resolution — which is purely a political messaging document and is not signed into law — would also stoke major ideological clashes within the caucus over “Medicare for All,” the “Green New Deal” and defense spending...Indeed, in a worst-case scenario for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her party, the budget could be an embarrassing flop on the House floor...Most Democrats say publicly they want a chance to vote on their party’s fiscal blueprint after eight years of rejecting GOP budgets. Privately, however, lawmakers and aides say that a budget is unlikely to come for a final vote. It’s an acknowledgment of the divisions within the caucus even on key principles, and a sign of how difficult it will be to craft actual legislation in the months to come.

For years, Pelosi repeatedly attacked Republican-produced budgets by calling them a reflection of core values. The GOP is calling her out:


Despite intense internal disagreements and disparate agendas, recent Republican majorities managed to produce budgets. Congress is, in fact, required by law to pass budgets annually.  Pelosi's Democrats won't even try because their ideological rifts are too deep. This is a pitiful abdication of responsibility, a political dodge, and a poor reflection on their seriousness as legislators. "Show me your budget, show me your values," Pelosi intoned, over and over again. Where is her party's budget? Where are their values? Apparently, they can't agree on these fundamental questions, so they're punting. It's worth pointing out that Senate Democrats took the same craven approach for four consecutive years (2010-2014) when they were most recently in the majority, at the behest of Chuck Schumer.  The point was to shield members from tough votes. They ended up losing control of the upper chamber anyway. Rather than offering voters a blueprint of what they would like to do with the federal budget (leftists want wild spending, moderates are worried about taxes and GOP attacks), House Democrats are merely signaling that they want large, automatic spending increases -- with no details or priorities specified:

House Democrats formally punted on releasing a budget blueprint on Tuesday, instead unveiling a bill that would increase military and domestic spending caps by more than $350 billion over the next two years. The proposal frustrated fiscal hawks on both sides of the aisle and Democrats on the party’s left flank who balked at the prospect of increasing military spending. It also meant that House Democrats, without a blueprint to counter the one the Trump administration released last month, had effectively opted out of outlining their own budget priorities in the face of a divided government and division within their caucus.

Remember when every single Democrat in Congress opposed the tax reform law, falsely claiming that it would raise taxes on the middle class (later refusing to make permanent the middle class tax cuts they'd previously claimed didn't exist), supposedly due to deficit concerns?  I sure do.  Welp:

In lieu of a budget resolution, the House Budget Committee has put forward a bill to increase discretionary spending caps by $358 billion over the next two years. Not only would this increase be twice as expensive as eliminating the discretionary sequester and bring base discretionary spending to record levels...it would expand deficits by roughly $2 trillion over the next decade. After a 16 percent spending increase over the past two years, current law calls for a 10 percent drop in discretionary spending between 2019 and 2020. The Investing in People Act of 2019 would instead increase spending by another 7 percent over the next two years...This plan would lift discretionary spending to record levels on an inflation-adjusted basis, roughly in line with the 2010 level that both parties considered too high. Because current law caps expire after 2021, this spending deal would actually increase projected deficits by far more than the $358 billion sticker price.

Cowardice, hypocrisy, and fiscal recklessness. Welcome to month four of Nancy Pelosi's Democratic majority.