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Tipsheet

Democrats Change Definition of Numbers, Say 2022 Spending Levels They Cheered Are Now 'Disaster'

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

President Biden, officials within his administration, and Democrats on Capitol Hill have been doing their level best to attack the debt ceiling and spending reduction bill put together by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his fellow Republicans. 

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Karine Jean-Pierre insisted last Friday that the House GOP's plan — which would raise the debt ceiling as is necessary to avoid a default while rolling spending back to FY2022 levels from just four months ago — would mean the lungs of America's children would be poisoned and Americans' bones could be "quite literally melted" by chemicals. Her claims were, of course, nonsense as were her new claims trotted out in this week's briefings. 

You see, there's one big problem with the Biden administration's and congressional Democrats' attacks against spending levels in McCarthy's plan dubbed the Limit, Save, Grow Act: Those same Democrats were over-the-moon excited when they set those spending levels for FY2022. So satisfied with that level of funding, in fact, that they passed a continuing resolution to keep funding the government at FY2022 levels for the remainder of the calendar year (end of September - end of December).

For example, when Biden signed the FY2022 appropriations bill into law that set levels where McCarthy's plan would again cap them, the president said the legislation "sends a clear message to the American people that we’re investing in safety, health, and the future of Americans." 

Continuing his remarks, Biden said FY2022 spending "would make education and housing more affordable for American families, support law enforcement, provide veterans world-class healthcare, prioritize mental health and substance use treatment, confront the climate crisis, and advance American leadership abroad."

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Not exactly the sky-is-falling consequences the White House now insists would become reality if discretionary spending were to be capped at the same level Biden heralded and approved with his signature just last March.

Biden's then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki didn't hold back from praising the FY2022 spending legislation, either. 

"The bipartisan funding bill proves once more that members of both parties can come together to deliver results for the American people," she said on March 15, 2022. "It will reduce costs for families and businesses, support our economic recovery, and advance American leadership abroad," Psaki added. 

That doesn't sound like a spending level that would poison the lungs of American children and give them asthma, yet those same spending levels, Psaki's successor insists, will now do just that. What changed?

Over on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were such big fans of the FY2022's spending plan they guided to passage through Congress that they released a joint statement celebrating what they clearly viewed as a legislative victory.

"We are pleased to announce that we have reached a historic bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Agreement for the American people for the remainder of FY2022," the two congressional leaders bragged. "This bipartisan agreement will help us address many of the major challenges we face at home and abroad: from COVID-19, to the vicious and immoral attack on Ukraine, to the need to lower costs for hardworking American families."

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Again, that sounds like FY2022 spending levels were a-ok with Democrats.

Even then-Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) praised the spending secured for FY2022. "I am so proud of this government funding legislation, which delivers transformative federal investments to help lower the cost of living for working families, create American jobs, and provide a lifeline for the vulnerable," DeLauro said when she introduced the finalized legislation. "During this time of great uncertainty and change, we are tackling some of our nation’s biggest challenges, including making health care more affordable, confronting the climate crisis, and protecting our national security."

Strange how now FY2022 spending levels mean, in Hillary Clinton's words, "Republicans are playing into the hands of Putin and Xi," yet the Democrat chair of the Appropriations Committee said the same spending levels would "protect our national security."

After President Biden signed the spending plan into law, DeLauro again touted how "this legislation means we are building a government that, instead of catering to the wealthy and big corporations, bends over backwards to support the middle class and those living paycheck to paycheck. This bill is a victory for working families, a victory for the American people," she added definitively.

Other Democrats were equally effusive about FY2022 spending in the past. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-GA) said at the time it passed the Democrat-controlled Congress that the funding would "provide vital resources to assure our country continues to provide the highest quality, safest, most abundant, and economical food, fiber, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices in the world."

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Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) proclaimed "this package moves America forward.”

"Today is a historic day, with the passage of a federal spending agreement that is absolutely necessary to meet the needs of the American people and confront unprecedented global challenges," declared then-Chairwoman of the Defense Subcommittee Betty McCollum (D-MN). "As Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I fought to ensure that the final agreement includes substantial investments in our most important national security asset: our people – our military service members, their families, and their quality of life," she explained. "I’m proud that this legislation will keep them and America, strong, healthy, and successful."

Further refuting Jean-Pierre's briefing room claims of environmental disaster if FY2022 levels were again maintained, then-Chairwoman of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) said the spending plan was "a historic investment in American innovation and competitiveness" and "promotes America’s energy independence and security, bolsters our conservation of precious natural resources, and helps sustain life on Earth." How about that.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) also previously refuted Hillary Clinton's claim that returning to FY2022 spending levels meant House Republicans were playing into our foes' hands. "This bill takes steps to create jobs, support American families and, critically, provide assistance to the people of Ukraine," the former chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee said when the spending plan passed. "Americans are seeing the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people and have expressed overwhelming support for helping them in their fight."

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Virtually every Democrat lawmaker that had a hand in crafting the omnibus that set FY2022 spending levels heralded the package as a great success that made America a strong nation, helped its allies, and secured our country's future. Everything, in fact, was fine with FY2022 spending according to Biden's party. 

Until now, when these Democrats should be made to explain why they're engaging in hypocritical hyperbole to try scaring the American people and Republican lawmakers into caving to Biden's will. Either they were all lying back in 2022 when they couldn't contain their excitement about the spending bill, or they're lying now about what capping discretionary spending at the same level would mean for America just four months later.

Speaker McCarthy himself called out some of Democrats' hypocrisy outlined above on Tuesday evening in a gaggle with reporters at the U.S. Capitol. Watch:

Clearly, President Biden is being backed into a corner by refusing to negotiate with Speaker McCarthy, and now the White House is getting desperate, especially as some Democrats on Capitol Hill — including Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — express their frustration with Biden's do-nothing strategy. 

Speaker McCarthy expects a vote on House Republicans' Limit, Save, Grow Act this week. Its passage would put even more pressure on President Biden and congressional Democrats who seemingly do not have even a collective leg to stand on when it comes to opposing the spending portion of the House GOP's plan. 

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