Way back when John Boehner retired, and Kevin McCarthy’s name was first floated for Speaker of the House, we said he was “too dumb and inarticulate” to lead Capitol Hill Republicans. In the years since then McCarthy improved his communications skills to the
point that we recognized that he had become – when he wanted to be – an effective spokesman for the conservative agenda.
However, it appears that you can’t fix stupid, and our assessment that Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy lacked the brains to be a great leader was well-founded.
Because just about the time we got to thinking McCarthy had seen the light and embraced the conservative worldview he reverted to type and sold-out conservatives for a Uniparty “deal” on spending, which is by far and away the greatest “self-own” by an establishment Republican in the past few election cycles.
McCarthy had a united Republican Party and conservative movement behind him, favorable polls and even the Left leaning media was making fun of Biden. Plus, he had a great, well thought out package to advocate – the Limit, Save, Grow Act – that modestly increased the debt limit and put the onus for figuring out how to avoid a phony “default” squarely on Joe Biden and the Democrats if they didn’t buy it.
McCarthy held all the cards, but he just didn’t have the brains or stones to play them – and the opposition was swift and brutal.
As our friend Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government explained:
You may read that projected federal government spending will decrease by $2.1 trillion over the next ten years. It won’t and it is not even close.
As someone who has applauded Speaker McCarthy’s rhetoric for fiscal sanity over the past few months, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that the agreement follows the long Republican tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
But perhaps McCarthy can spread the blame around to another GOP mental lightweight -- Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, a longtime McCarthy do-boy, and the “lead negotiator” for House Republicans, and the alleged author of the spending “cap” scheme in the agreed upon debt ceiling bill.
As Mr. Manning pointed out, the agreed upon spending caps are only mandatory for two-years – not six, and can easily be waived for the last four years according to House GOP sources who support the Orwellian named Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The $2 trillion in savings only occurs if all six years of caps remain in place. I guess a twenty-two-year-old who just arrived on Capitol Hill in January might fall for this bait and switch, but no one who has been around DC for more than a minute could possibly believe that the caps for years three through six would survive.
Setting aside the constitutional point that today’s Congress can’t bind a future Congress to not spend whatever it wants, the last time Congress passed a spending “cap” scheme the caps didn’t even last through the next budget cycle, and most of the malefactors in that charade are still in Congress. (Looking at you Mitch McConnell.)
As Senator Rand Paul said, “Fake conservatives agree to fake spending cuts. Deal will increase mandatory spending ~5%, increase military spending ~3%, and maintain current non-military discretionary spending at post-COVID levels. No real cuts to see here.
“Conservatives have been sold out once again!”
So, what’s to be done?
First, the Capitol Switchboard is (202-224-3121), call your Representative and Senators to tell them to vote NO on this “deal” and that you demand that tax collections and spending be harmonized without raising taxes or borrowing any more from Red China.
Next, take Arizona state Representative Jacqueline Parker’s admonition to heart. Start looking for and working for a primary opponent for any Republican who votes in favor of this Uniparty scam.
Mike Lee Letter
debt ceiling default
work requirements for welfare
Limit, Save, Grow Act
Reclaim COVID spending
Fiscal Responsibility Act