The Senate is working on Concurrent Resolution 3, which sets the parameters for the federal budget for 2017. The Republicans are trying to get it passed quickly but some of what is in it is quite fascinating. Like the fact that it raises the debt ceiling for the next decade by nearly $10 trillion. Here are the “recommended deficit levels by year:
(4) DEFICITS.—For purposes of the enforcement of this resolution, the amounts of the deficits are as follows:
Fiscal year 2017: $582,574,000,000.
Fiscal year 2018: $541,560,000,000.
Fiscal year 2019: $673,600,000,000.
Fiscal year 2020: $728,659,000,000.
Fiscal year 2021: $785,164,000,000.
Fiscal year 2022: $897,085,000,000.
Fiscal year 2023: $892,854,000,000.
Fiscal year 2024: $863,233,000,000.
Fiscal year 2025: $946,057,000,000.
So they see the deficit going up pretty much every year. That’s funny. I recall Donald Trump saying, “We’re gonna stop our deficits, we’re gonna stop our deficits, we’re gonna do it very quickly.” And here is the cumulative debt that they are authorizing for the next decade:
(5) PUBLIC DEBT.—Pursuant to section 301(a)(5) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 632(a)(5)), the appropriate levels of the public debt are as follows:
Fiscal year 2017: $20,034,788,000,000.
Fiscal year 2018: $20,784,183,000,000.
Fiscal year 2019: $21,625,729,000,000.
Fiscal year 2020: $22,504,763,000,000.
Fiscal year 2021: $23,440,271,000,000.
Fiscal year 2022: $24,509,421,000,000.
Fiscal year 2023: $25,605,527,000,000.
Fiscal year 2024: $26,701,273,000,000.
Fiscal year 2025: $27,869,175,000,000.
Fiscal year 2026: $29,126,158,000,000.
An increase of nearly $10 trillion. From the party of “fiscal responsibility.” Let’s set the wayback machine for 2013, when these very same Republicans very nearly shut down the government and imperil the nation’s creditworthiness rather than raise the debt ceiling at all, even for one year. The Senate Republicans were refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless every dollar it was raised would be offset by spending cuts. That’s what led to the now-infamous sequestration deal. Funny. there isn’t a mention of such cuts in this budget resolution to balance off that $10 trillion in new debt.
Better yet, let’s go back to 2011, when Republicans in Congress again threw a hissy fit about the debt ceiling. This time they again demanded dollar-for-dollar spending cuts to offset any increase in the debt ceiling, caps on spending, and a balanced budget amendment to the constitution to be sent to the states for ratification. Again, no mention of any of those things in this budget.
This has become old hat. When a Democrat is in the White House, the Republicans scream bloody murder about the deficit and the cumulative federal debt, threatening constantly to shut down the government over it. When a Republican is in the White House, those concerns magically melt away. All they want to do is cut taxes on the rich, which reduces revenue, which increases both the deficit and the debt. And all of this without a hint of protest. This bill came to the floor of the Senate after a vote to send it there was 51-48. The only Republican to vote against it was Rand Paul. Even Ted Cruz, the anti-spending warrior who led the charge to shut down the government in 2013, voted for it. I bet the final vote will be identical. Hypocrisy is the only real currency in Washington, DC.