House Freedom Caucus Too Busy Scolding Justin Amash To Care About Today's Bipartisan Budget Apocalypse

What's the point of a "limited government" bloc that doesn't limit government?


Unless you are a Washington obsessive, you may have missed the news that bipartisan leaders of both houses of Congress are on the verge of agreeing—as soon as today—on a two-year budget deal that waves away the debt ceiling and lifts whatever spending caps that would theoretically go into effect if by some crazy chance the two parties can't agree to spend more of your children's money.

This quiet backroom negotiation between the House and Senate majority and minority leaders, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, is in stark contrast to the Tea Party–influenced budget/deficit/debt-ceiling wars of 2009–2014, which were animated by alarm at trillion-dollar deficits, unsustainable entitlements, and a national debt that had recently doubled.

Since those days, and despite the infusion of new fiscal hawks such as Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.), the federal government has returned to trillion-dollar deficits, entitlements are even more unsustainable (with reforms nowhere visible on the horizon), and the debt has doubled once more. There is no appetite, from the president on down, for doing anything except spending more borrowed money, forever.

Forget last night's petty Freedom Caucus (HFC) rebuke of co-founder Amash for saying out loud what many Republicans no doubt think about President Trump—this latest low-key budget travesty, and the smooth congressional sailing it will no doubt face, is reason enough for the once-vaunted bloc to pack it in. "We support open, accountable and limited government," the HFC mission statement promised in 2015. But that directive gets less fun when the president's a Republican, too.

The Freedom Caucus was also supposed to be a bulwark against executive-branch overreach and corruption—including enthusiasm for independent special counsels to investigate wayward administrations—but in the Trump era Chair Mark Meadows (R–N.C.) and Vice Chair Jim Jordan (R–Ohio) became two of the president's barkiest attack dogs toward Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the president's gross behavior.

Mulvaney, himself one of nine co-founders of the Caucus, is a prime cautionary tale about the compromises of power. In March 2015, as I pointed out in this roadmap of GOP fiscal incontinence, Mulvaney wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined: "The Republican Budget Is a Deficit Bust," which argued that "There is no honest way to justify not paying for spending, no matter how often my fellow Republicans try."

What was Mulvaney's tune just 30 months later as a key economic-policy player in the Trump administration? "We need to have new deficits."

Mission accomplished!

Stay tuned over the coming hours not just for the horrendous dollar amounts, but also the rank insincerity of supposed fiscal conservatives in claiming that, dang it, their hands are tied when it comes to limiting government.

"We're all for trying to rein in spending, but at what cost?" Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R–Ala.) told The Washington Post. "And I don't think the president wants to rein in spending at the cost of national security."

Politico's Jake Sherman put it best:

NEXT: Unsuck DC Metro Called Out Public Transportation's Failings, So Local Media Doxed Him

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Because the GOP is Mad at Amash They Don’t Care About the Budget”

    Wow, Joe found a way to laud Amash AND infer that picking on him makes insane budgets pass.

  2. One reason to inveigh against the candidacy of Donald Trump was his zealous commitment to trillion dollar deficits.

    1. True. That would mean a lot more if anyone in Washington did any differently.

      1. K Street has families to feed and junkets to fill.

      2. If you paid any attention to history, you’d know that Democratic administrations are more fiscally responsible than Republicans since Reagan first exploded the deficit.

        1. True, but big deficit/spending conservatives are getting their Aborto-Freak on. That is their cause in life.

          1. Turd is here to prove how stupid one person can be! And doing a good job of it!
            Fuck off and die, turd. Make the world a better place.

            1. He really should commit suicide.

        2. PB, don’t invent some lame sock to agree with yourself. It’s pathetic. And hat saying a lot for a kiddie raper like you.

          So fucking obvious.

        3. LMAO!!! Just making stuff up now eh? You do realize the Obama administration enacted the $787 B- as in Billion! (Almost a Trillion Dollars) just on the AARA alone. Bill Clinton; the only one to even carry a balance. Stold Social Security funds and presided during the dot com boom (purely coincidental).

          How the left thinks – When you lobby/pass gov-funded entitlement programs the gov actually saves money! LMAO!! (Stupid is – is stupid does I guess).

  3. Amash was too busy defending and excusing the abuses of the FBI and intelligence community to be upset. Nothing says limited government like “its okay to spy on people we don’t like”.

    That is who Amash and I suppose by extension Welch are. Own it.

    1. EXACTLY

      What’s the point of a “civil libertarian” if they don’t fight for civil liberties?

    2. This exactly. Well put John.

      Fuck Amash, totalitarian police state is a far greater threat than the budget at this point, and that is literally almost what we had if Trump weren’t elected.

      Now faux libertarian Amash is siding with the findings of the cover-our-ass investigation that had the sole purpose of trying to legitimize both spying on a political opponent and overthrowing an elected president.

      Fuck Amash, I lost all respect for him not because of his obstruction stuff, but because he chose to focus on that rather than the police state bs that happened. He is a coward, and so is the staff of reason.

      1. And this article is bullshit too. Some thoughts:

        Does anyone really think the budget is about to be cut? That didn’t happen with the GOP in control of the House.

        Amash is more focused on getting attention for bashing Trump than getting anything good done, which might involve not bashing Trump. So he’s just a self aggrandizer.

        This is another shot article by Matt. Who has zero credibility bitching about deficits. Since he clearly would be happier with Hillary in charge. Again, nothing he supports would get the budget cut.

        Is Matt angling for a contributor gig in MSNBC? His behavior appears to that. As opposed to having any real libertarian principles.

        1. It can’t happen. It is essentially impossible in a democracy: Once buying votes with borrowed money is on the table, anybody who seriously proposes not doing it will be outbid when buying votes, and will be advocating for a balanced budget from outside the government.

          Thus it is inherent in the functioning of democracy that all advocacy of balanced budgets by people in a position to do it will be insincere.

          Borrowing is democratic government’s Thionite. One sniff and you’re an addict, and it takes every bit of will power you’ve got, and maybe then some, just to keep from immediately ODing. And in the end a society ALWAYS ODs on it.

      2. ” totalitarian police state is a far greater threat than the budget at this point”

        Which is why you’re opposed to the “totalitarian police state” created by draconian immigration policies, right? Oh no wait, in THAT case, it’s all about “the welfare state” and ICE kicking in doors to drag penniless Guatemalans back to their shithole country is totally justified.

        1. So stupid

    3. Poor Trump the victim.

      It’s okay to obstruct justice if it’s a witchhunt, right?

      1. If you think witch-hunts were actually “justice” being served; I guess…

  4. >>>and despite the infusion of new fiscal hawks such as Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.)

    OBLesque. What’s the Amash-Love equivalent of TDS?

    1. OBL’s trolling, here and there, is brilliant.

      1. mad OBL love from me, sure.

    2. He did indeed score 88% in NTU’s last ratings. But the average Republican was only a little lower.

      How can this be, when they’re busting budgets? NTU rates votes. That is, they rate according to what’s on the agenda. Balanced budgets are nowhere near the agenda. Yet they really are doing about all they reasonably can in a democracy, which is why they rate so high; NTU knows this. First you have to move the needle a little way, busting the budget not as badly as the average American wants it busted. That’s all they can do, and it’s what they’re doing, with a few big slip-ups as noted.

      1. This state of affairs has been reflected when model Congresses have been assembled to test it. Concerned citizen volunteers reveal their joint preference by borrowing and spending if they take the status quo as starting point.

        Relatively speaking, the entire GOP, including their elected representatives, are fiscal hawks, but you’re seeing at least close to the best they can do.

  5. Non-defense spending would fall to $543.2 billion, a nearly $53.8 billion cut from this year.

    Sounds good to me! Go Republicans.

    1. There is no appetite, from the president on down, for doing anything except spending more borrowed money, forever.

      Stick that up your Trump-Retard ass (what the article actually said).

      1. Sarah Palin’s Buttplug
        May.21.2019 at 9:40 pm
        “Stick that up your Trump-Retard ass (what the article actually said).”

        Stick that up your Hag-Retard ass, you pathetic piece of loser shit.

    2. I think we should be cutting defense spending too… But between the two, I’m perfectly fine with other big government shit getting cut while defense stays flat.


  7. How much has spending increased since Justin Amash was elected to Congress 5 terms ago? That’s some real whiz-bang “Republican fiscal hawk” ya got there, Welchie. So in 2020 are the Libertarians going to run a candidate with a longer Republican resume and better Republican cred than the Republicans again?

    1. yeah, Amash is the one jacking up the debt.

      1. He certainly isn’t doing shit to reverse the trend.

        Basically occupies space in committees and proposes meaningless show bills to virtue signal while putting zero effort into trying to make them law. Amash has mastered the Ron Paul skill of pretending to work hard enough to sucker clueless libertarians while doing zero to further any pro-libertarian policy goals.

  8. Deficits and tariffs are wonderful things now. And if Trump suggests nuking Mars, that will be a fine and glorious thing too.

    1. If Congress gave trump a bill that reduced the deficit I am pretty sure he would sign it.

      1. They had two full years to do just that.

        And bupkus.

        1. “They had two full years to do just that.
          And bupkus.”

          And the loser turd blames Trump!
          Fuck off and die someplace where we can’t smell the stink.

        2. Hey faggot, your commie scumbag pals could have introduced, and still can introduce a budget that actually cuts the deficit, or even balances it. But we both know hat won’t happen.

          Just admit it you sick pederast.

        3. IIRC they never had the numbers in the senate to get past the Dems on the budget if the Dems wanted to fight it…

          1. They kept the filibuster around specifically so they’d have that excuse to explain why they didn’t do the things they ran on doing.

            The truth is, a lot of them got elected lying about what they intended to do. The filibuster is kept around to prevent votes that would expose that.

            1. True enough. In some ways I don’t mind a 60 vote requirement… The thing that’s so dumb about it all though is that they can vote to remove that requirement anytime they want, it’s not “hard coded” so to speak.

              But yeah, the senate is where all the worst Rs are. The house has voted for some SWEET shit over the years, and it always dies with RINOs in the senate.

              1. Of course it often only passes because they know the D’s and/or Senate Republicans won’t pass it.

                1. Sometimes… But I think the thing about the house, for both Rs and Ds, is that they genuinely get a LOT more people that actually believe in their professed ideology… Because there are just too many races for “the man” to control.

                  In the senate it is almost entirely controlled, mainstream, party approved people. Whereas in the house you end up with a lot of “crazies” on both sides of the aisle that their respective party leadership doesn’t really like. Not to say there aren’t plenty of party hacks too, I’m just saying there are actually legit true believers, whereas the senate is 100% sold out, other than a few weirdos like Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders.

                  Likewise, once you get to state congresses you have mostly people who believe in what they say. Too many races to control, and not enough slush fund money to buy them all.

  9. last night’s petty Freedom Caucus (HFC) rebuke of co-founder Amash for saying out loud what many Republicans no doubt think about President Trump

    Oh, sure, the Silent Majority. Why are they silent? If the HFC rebuked him, where are these Republicans coming from?

  10. “Forget last night’s petty Freedom Caucus (HFC) rebuke of co-founder Amash for saying out loud what many Republicans no doubt think about President Trump…”

    Is that from an anonymous source, Matt? How many is “many”, Matt? Do you expect that sort of happy horseshit to get a pass, Matt?
    Please tell us, in specifics, why Trump should be impeached? Amash doesn’t seem to be able to provide anything but non-vintage whine that *he’s* read the report.
    Let’s see what you’ve got Matt, or STFU. That’s CNN-level bullshit.

    1. Matt hasn’t produced much else BUT CNN level bullshit lately. Me thinks he’s angling for a contributor gig with one of the traitor networks. I’m sure Fox won’t have him.

      1. I’m not so sure about Fox as they have become more Progressive since the Murdoch boys have taken control from daddy!

    2. I think ALMOST ZERO of them want him impeached. A lot of them would probably say about the same as me, which is he ain’t perfect, they wish he was better spoken sometimes, etc… But on the whole for me, he’s a step in the right direction from the business as usual DC RINOs anyway.

  11. ten trillion here, ten trillion there, pretty soon you’re in real deep debt.

  12. Trumpitarians, on investigating Trump:
    “Fight the police state!”

    Trumpitarians, on immigration:
    “Bring on the police state! Keep those shithole people out of here!”

    1. This article has nothing to do with immigration, and little to do with Trump. Where is this coming from?

  13. Just remember:
    What’s most important, is that the full force and might of the Federal police state is brought to bear against the most powerless and voiceless people in the country.

    But the moment that the most powerful person on the planet is investigated for something that he might have done wrong, it’s a moral outrage and a travesty and it shows what a terrible police state that we have.

    God you Trump apologists couldn’t be more transparent in your boot licking. At least try to come up with a consistent argument.

    If you’re REALLY going to take a “fuck the state” type pose, then be consistent. Tell us how you plan to abolish ICE.

    But instead you are only going to take a “fuck the state” approach disingenuously, only in support of Trump, never in opposition to Trump.

    1. You mean people that have committed crimes? Yeah, the cops should fuck with them. Why would I want to abolish ICE?

      I am totally against real police abuses… The thing is 90% of what people call police abuse nowadays is NOT really police abuse. Arresting illegal aliens is no abuse. Arresting people for committing other crimes is not abuse. Nor is kicking their asses if they assault the cop while he’s trying to arrest them. Etc.

      Excessive force is a real thing. There are unwarranted shootings. But most of the shit commies whine about is not legit.

  14. The Bloc actively fighting the corruption in the intelligence community while Amash is backing them up?

  15. Didems mean old republicans pick on your new boyfriend?

  16. […] a column for Reason Magazine yesterday, Matt Welch asks “What’s the point of a ‘limited […]

  17. […] a column for Reason Magazine yesterday, Matt Welch asks “What’s the point of a ‘limited government’ […]

  18. AOC (Democrats yesterday) – We must have a new Green Deal that would wipe out the entire U.S. budget overnight!
    Democrats Today – Republicans ran up the deficit by $113 Billion; How irresponsible
    Democrats Last Term – Lobbies and passes a $787 Billion debt in ONE-SINGLE-BILL (AARA).

  19. Amash is just another Progressive Republican, not much different than his Progressive Democrat tovarisch!

    I also note that Amash is more concerned about getting in good with the Progressive Propagandists aka MSM than any concern about the budget yet you call him a “fiscal hawk”. LMAO

  20. […] House Freedom Caucus Too Busy Scolding Justin Amash To Care About Today’s Bipartisan Budget Ap… by Matt Welch […]

  21. […] House Freedom Caucus Too Busy Scolding Justin Amash To Care About Today’s Bipartisan Budget Ap… by Matt Welch […]

  22. […] D.C., he’s been labeled “loser,” accused of being a secret Democrat, and ostracized from the legislative caucus he co-founded, but on Monday night Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) […]

  23. […] House Freedom Caucus seemed more than able to rally and condemn Amash, but were strangely absent from the conversation about the budget, allowing a series of financial decisions that contradict […]

  24. […] related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recently completed investigation and were quick to rebuke their colleague when he went rogue on […]

  25. […] to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recently completed investigation and were quick to rebuke their colleague when he went rogue on […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.