Government Spending

GOP Runs Away from Its Legacy

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Not just losers, but sort of cowardly about it as well. This from the Associated Press:

Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills…..

Driving the decision to quit and go home rather than finish the remaining budget work is a determined effort by a group of conservative Republicans to prevent putting a GOP stamp on spending bills covering 13 Cabinet Departments - and loaded with thousands of homestate projects derided as "pork" by critics.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill would rather complete this year's budget work and have the GOP's imprint rather than a Democratic one on how federal agencies will be spending their money through next September. However, conservatives such as Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., fear doing that would leave as the GOP's legacy a foot-tall bill containing thousands of parochial projects. Last week they seized the upper hand by employing delaying tactics to drag the budget process to a halt in the Senate.

"The last thing Republicans need is an end-of-Congress spending spree as our last parting shot as we walk out the door," said DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton.

However, in the grand spirit of partisan rancor gumming up the government works, some Republicans do express the hope that the workload undone this year will slow down the Dems in executing some of their big government plans for the future. Let us hope. Whole story.

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  1. Worried about Dems executing their spending plans?
    Here’s a novel idea, tell Bush to get that long underused veto pen out.

  2. “The last thing Republicans need is an end-of-Congress spending spree as our last parting shot as we walk out the door,”

    It’s basically just payback by the GOP to all the districts that didn’t re-elect them.

  3. Hard to veto anything when it’s attached to truly necessary legislation. Which brings us once again to the line-item veto…

    Anyhow, doesn’t the party going out of power always leave behind a mess? Isn’t their mess why they lost power in the first place? And if they could have fixed it, wouldn’t they have done so and avoided defeat? Or are they all idiots? That last question is rhetorical.

  4. “The last thing Republicans need is an end-of-Congress spending spree as our last parting shot as we walk out the door,” said DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton.

    Isn’t that an argument for passing smaller spending bills, with the pork cut out, rather than for leaving the bills unpassed?

    This is a great opportunity for the Dems to take a knife to those bills, and spend the next year it over the Republicans that they did so.

  5. This is a great opportunity for the Dems to take a knife to those bills, and spend the next year it over the Republicans that they did so.

    Somehow I think the Democrats will opt for the shovel instead. They might take a knife to tax cuts, however.

  6. Some of the tax cuts will definitely get the knife.

    But the spending bills could go either way. I guess we’ll see.

  7. Question.

    How many people in the senate make up a quorum?

    Is there a way fiscal conservatives and democrats could just not show up and essentially stop a bill?

  8. “””The last thing Republicans need is an end-of-Congress spending spree as our last parting shot as we walk out the door,” said DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton.”””

    In other words, let’s not do our job and still get paid for it!!

    What a sad bunch of characters, cutting and running from their responsibilities.

    But if they would have stayed in office, the spending spree would be okay?

    Sure it give the Dems the opprotunity to have their way with it, but it’s not the 110th Congress’s responsibility. It belongs to the 109th. I guess, for the Republicains, no responsibility is to great to quit.

    “””Hard to veto anything when it’s attached to truly necessary legislation. Which brings us once again to the line-item veto…”””

    The line item veto is unconstitutional. The President is to sign or veto the bill. Not take what he wants and leave out the rest. The problem is not the ability to line item veto but in the way stupid crap gets attached to a bill that has nothing to do with that bill. That’s what should be banned.

    “””Anyhow, doesn’t the party going out of power always leave behind a mess?””””

    Mess, yes. But I’ve never heard, in my lifetime, Congress pushing its fiscal responsibility to the incoming Congress.
    I would be curious to find out if it has happened before.

  9. Frankly, it’s puzzling in this day and age why politicians still get to excercise power after voters have told them to GTFO. Not like I’m advocating any other features of current English government, but after an election, don’t they pretty much hand over their offices in a day?

    In this specific case, it could be seen as the ethical thing to do, to leave the budget for the crowd that has just been voted in, although I’m sure the departing cretins aren’t thinking of it that way.

  10. …truly necessary legislation.

    ?Que?

  11. Are you all crazy?

    This is a great day for spending restraint. A bunch of pork-slobs who just lost their jobs will not be able to vote themselves a cushy post-congress career by rewarding their special interest friends.

    The Dems who replaced them may or may not vote thru these bills…but it’s a fair certainty that the congressmen would have voted yes – they WROTE the bills, right?

    This way, we get a second chance, with the congressmen the voters selected…not the ones they rejected.

    Who has a problem with this?

  12. You are correct, Andrew. It looks like gridlock is getting off to a wonderful start. I have high hopes for the two years of happy paralysis. If we are truly blessed, Democrats might nail more Republican earmarks than they put in for themselves.

    My major concern is that the Democrats will just switch the trough-sloppers wholesale. Patty Murray, from my state of Washington, has unfortunately shown that she is even willing to get cozy with Ted Stevens in order to keep the pork flowing. So that is not a good sign.

  13. Now if the assholes (on both sides of the aisle) would just go away and stay away, I’d feel much better about the next two years.

  14. The government is divided between opposing factions and so one of the factions digs in its heels to annoy the other faction and slow things down in Congress.

    My God, it’s almost as if James Madison designed it for that very outcome!

  15. thoreau

    To be fair, this was a fight between two factions of the same party. The Reps still control both houses till January, and I assume the leadership wanted to pass this legislation out through floor votes.

    It was a minority of maverick conservatives who tied it up in commitee, and I think it must have been a fairly brave thing to do. By all I’ve heard, it is a terrifying thing to stare down Trent Lott on something like this!

    I’d like to learn some of the names – THESE are Republicans who deserve some help (and may need it).

  16. The line item veto is unconstitutional. The President is to sign or veto the bill. Not take what he wants and leave out the rest. The problem is not the ability to line item veto but in the way stupid crap gets attached to a bill that has nothing to do with that bill. That’s what should be banned.

    The line-item veto would never have even been necessary if Congress hadn’t gotten all pissy at Nixon and removed the power of impoundment from the President.

  17. No doubt, Andrew. But I don’t recall the fiscal conservatives standing up to the leadership back when DeLay was twisting arms to pass the mammoth prescription drug bill, or when Ted Stevens got his bridge. It took electoral defeat to stiffen their spines against the leadership.

    jf-

    I could get behind the restoration of the impoundment power. I think I prefer that to the line item veto, actually. I can imagine a bill that says:

    Section 1: The executive branch can do such-and-such.

    Section 2: Citizens must be notified 45 days in advance of such-and-such.

    Bush would veto section 2.

    I guess he could do mischief with impoundment as well, by refusing to spend the money appropriated for federal public defenders, or money appropriated to investigate a scandal in the executive branch, or funds for a website that informs the public of federal spending, or whatever. Still, I think that impoundment is overall safer.

  18. thoreau

    This is still only a delaying tactic – running down the clock while the lame-duck session ends. There would not have been any point in doing this with previous spending bills, since the same committee charmains would be returning in the next session.

    As it is, it – sadly – may make little real difference. The Democrats coming in January may pass the same bills with more pork added…it will be up to them.

    One hopes for similar faction fights AMONG Democrats…but it is hard to believe their party discipline will splinter so soon after victory.

  19. It is amazing how knee-jerk anti-Republican Reason is, even when Republican Conservative doing exactly the right thing from libertarian standpoint. You might want to check this http://www.clubforgrowth.com (see the post from 11/21) to understand what is going on there. Doherty comment is uninformed to put it mildly.

    As for standing-up to Delay, Coburn and DeMint are senators, not congressman. And they have been fighting their leadership on spending for quite a while, earning enmity from many of their fellow Republican lawmakers. To call their behavior cowardly is to put thing upside down.

  20. “D”

    That was the most risible, vacuous, incoherent, and self-contradictory comment I’ve seen someone stumble up here and make in some time.

    Kudos.

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