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The Right Resistance: Paralyzed Congress is a budgeting hoard operation and neglected junk room

Chances are anyone who’s lived any appreciable time at one location has a so-called “storage” room – or more accurately known in polite society as a junk room – which typically contains some form of shelves or bookcases with boxes or containers housing paper

records, photos, knickknacks, souvenirs, inherited novelties or long forgotten school projects, valuable heirlooms but also residuals of senseless hoarding where the owners were simply too lazy or unmotivated to throw the stuff out over the course of years.


Such places give the “dust bunny” concept a bad name.


Reality TV producers have sought out the worst “hoarding” offenders and sent in their camera crews to record what the space looks like, with fascinated viewers looking on in horror and disgust while thinking, ‘How could anyone let their home get that way?’ Health hazard doesn’t begin to describe the worst of the delinquents.


It’s a curious phenomenon, but there’s little doubt “hoarding” goes on at the highest levels of the federal government as well, and I’m not talking about the enormous and brimming Library of Congress, which today allegedly stores electronic copies of everything that’s ever been written. Or something like that.


Yes, the federal government is so bloated and convoluted that it’s essentially become one gargantuan junk room of bureaucracy, red tape, waste and abuse. The problem is so pervasive that no one – and I mean no one – craves opening the proverbial door to the chamber and then proceeding to sift through the voluminous garbage, hoping to separate the relevant from the extraneous.


Yet this is what we send representatives and senators to do through the budgeting process, which, no surprise, doesn’t appear as though it’s getting done again this year. You may recall that Republicans, upon winning the House majority in the 2022 federal midterm elections, promised to seize their newfound authority to force a return to “regular order” in the legislative calendar, to pass the necessary appropriations and to accomplish all of it according to the “old ways”, where the men and women elected to office actually did what they were sent to the nation’s capital to do.


Republicans are hitting roadblocks again, and face another deadline to keep their promises – or to merely punt the budget ball, again, down the road for someone else to handle and organize. In an article titled “House Republicans still seeking to beat the unbeatable spending foe”, Alex Miller reported at The Washington Times:


“Why is it the Washington norm to rely on stopgap bills and hulking catch-all spending bills that lawmakers complain are too big to read?


“Chris Edwards, an economist for the libertarian CATO Institute, thinks government spending has just become too bloated for lawmakers to handle. The federal spending trains would never run on time, he said, because lawmakers simply do not have enough time to parse through normal spending duties such as defense and the 2,400 benefit programs the federal government has amassed. ‘The federal budget has grown far too large to properly manage with any amount of efficiency or sober judgment,’ Mr. Edwards said.


“But any attempt to put an omnibus on the House floor would likely face heavy pushback from Republicans. ‘We’ve got to pass these bills individually,’ said Rep. John Rutherford, Florida Republican. ‘I do not want to do a minibus or an omnibus. We put them together and let’s run them through. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.’”


No offense to Rep. Rutherford, but Congress, as a body, doesn’t appear to give a hoot about how things are supposed to work. If they did, the “storage room” of congressional business and procedure wouldn’t have become so stuffed with crap that scarcely anyone knows where things are anymore, and omnibus bills merely perpetuate waste and fraud rather than eliminating it, or, at the very least, scaling it back.


We’ve heard of various plans over the years to try and deal with the spending and debt behemoth, ranging from a balanced budget amendment (which isn’t politically palatable to the elite class that depends on bringing home the bacon to favored constituents and/or welfare grifters), to Senator Rand Paul’s “penny plan” which would automatically reduce outlays by one percent each fiscal year until a balanced budget is achieved.


There’s a similar proposal this year, though it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Miller additionally reported, “The alternatives to an omnibus are not ideal for House Republicans, either. Mr. Johnson still supports passing spending bills one at a time, but should that push fail, he has floated a possible year-long stopgap bill that would trigger an automatic 1% across-the-board cut in spending in April — an outcome lawmakers fear would kneecap defense spending.”


A good many Republicans have mentally isolated defense spending from the rest of the budget, which would appear to make sense to the party that supposedly champions a strong defense, national security and peace through strength. But defense spending must be made accountable, too, and it’s hard to believe that the Pentagon couldn’t do with less by eliminating, somewhere, a mere one-percent from its total figures.


I personally know of incentives the defense department has offered to current servicemen and women in hopes of getting them to re-up for another enlistment that includes paying for the college educations of children of said individuals. Everyone is aware of the troubles the service branches have experienced with recruitment, but seriously, do we have to give away the store to keep them in the fold?


How about returning the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to a solid fighting force that promotes based on merit and doesn’t give in to “woke” extremes such as paying for sex-change operations for enlisted personnel? Something like transgender nonsense or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) sensitivity training couldn’t be severed from the budget?


And we’re not even talking about the significant budgetary expense of paying defense contractors to manufacture missiles and bombs for Ukraine – as well as paying the salaries of the Ukrainian bureaucracy. Is Ukraine’s war a vital national interest? Here’s thinking that a line-by-line perusal of the Defense department could come up with plenty of things to cut, as could a similar once-over of every federal agency, some of which should be eliminated entirely.


Miller’s article additionally added that House Republicans are finding it rough sledding in attempting to get together on a budget while maintaining only a two-seat majority. I have no doubt this is true, but would any of them think the process would go smoother if Hakeem Jeffries and the Democrats were the ones with the two-seat majority instead? Nancy Pelosi didn’t have the same headwinds when her caucus was down below the “working majority” level, did she?


A simple House majority is sufficient to elect a Speaker, fix House rules, set the calendar and appoint committee heads, among the many advantages of enjoying a partisan advantage. There’s enormous power there, and whether relatively “new” Speaker Mike Johnson has taken full control is open to debate. There’s something to be said to just putting bills on the floor for a vote regardless of assurance of passage, something Republicans did a couple weeks ago for the impeachment vote on Alejandro Mayorkas (which the GOP subsequently failed to get a majority).


At least the swamp’s holdouts will be exposed that way. It’s much better than not even trying to move an agenda.


Since so little budgeting work is getting done, the clock will invariably wind down – again – to force a compromise between the parties which equates to squabbles over avoiding another government shutdown. And what’s so bad about a shutdown? Politically speaking, Republicans are terrified of the possibility in an election year, figuring they’ll be blamed by independent voters for refusing to cave in to the Democrats’ demands.


Democrats want to fund everything, right? Except for border security. They’ll let the country’s sovereignty dissolve before they’ll lend a dime to building a wall.


Budgeting is a place where Donald Trump could exert some leadership, though Trump has never concerned himself much with debt spending and wouldn’t likely change his practice now. If Trump gets back in office, he’ll be a “lame duck” with free rein to advocate whatever he wants, but would it make a difference to the bottom line?


The “hoarder” Congress with its overpacked “storage rooms” doesn’t even know what’s in them.


The late Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn used to compile a “pig book” of wasteful federal programs, and there are some on Capitol Hill who carry forward the spirit of the effort, yet there aren’t enough – and the establishment is too powerful – to make headway. There are some conservatives who want to start the job of cleaning up and organizing, but there are far too many politicians who’d rather just keep spending and spending on the junk room instead of cleaning and auditing.


What does it mean? The hoarding will continue and Congress will be deep filling proverbial rooms with more stuff and more programs that everyone will forget about and be stuck paying for in the form of something purchased years ago that long since lost its usefulness.


And Republicans will go on worrying about the notion of slashing 1% of defense spending.


Washington’s politicians, and Republican establishment leaders more specifically, count on keeping Americans in the dark when it comes to formulating and passing a federal budget. The problem has become so large and out of control that most voters simply just pass the subject off as something they’d rather not address today, leaving it aside until the next time the threat of a shutdown looms.


Something, at some point, has to give. There’ll be a time when the old, dusty “storage room” won’t be set aside any longer. It’ll either overflow, catch fire, or be cleared and tossed out when a new owner arrives to take possession. The budget won’t wait forever. Will Republicans get it together?

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

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