It was a short week in Congress. Just long enough for both chambers to remind the American people that they do not care about the interests of future generations.
Let’s start in the House.
The House Democrats brought up and passed the Dream Act of 2019 – a bill that would provide lawful permanent resident status to children that came to America illegally before the age of 18 along with a path to citizenship if they graduate from college or serve in the military.
The Dreamers policy is an immigration policy priority for the Democratic party and has some support among Republicans. But it comes with a cost.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the bill would increase deficits by $26.3 billion over the next 10 years – primarily because it would make 2 million additional people eligible for federal benefits, which far outpaces the expected tax revenues that they would generate.
A group of House Democrats that are concerned about our national debt raised these issues with the cost of the bill and pushed for Democrats to stick to their promises to abide by Pay-Go rules that require offsets for bills that increase spending. In a letter to House leadership, 20 Blue Dog Democrats made the case that “our children and grandchildren are counting on us to ensure they will not be burdened by reckless decisions of the past.”
The group urged house Democrats to stick to their promises and only “advance legislation that is fully paid for.”
House Democrats said, nahhhh and overwhelmingly voted to waive the budget rules and pass the $26 billion bill without offsets.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the national debt a “dark cloud” over our nation’s future while opposing the Republican tax cuts as “borrowing from our children and grandchildren’s future.”
Instead of taking this opportunity to listen to her colleagues’ concerns about our woeful budget conditions, she instead pushed forward with a bill that will further darken the cloud and add to the burden of “our children and grandchildren.”
Then there is the Republican Senate.
The budget resolution is supposed to be written and passed by Congress by April 15th of each year. This is the first step in Congress’ funding process that ends with Congress passing 12 spending bills by September 30th of each year.
For the second year in a row, the Republican Senate did not even attempt to draft a budget (the House Democrats didn’t write one either). For years when Democrats were in charge during the Obama administration, Republicans excoriated the Democrats for failing to do a budget resolution. Now that Republicans are in charge, they are taking a pass.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) filled the void by introducing a budget resolution that would balance the budget in 5 years by spending of federal programs by 2 percent each year (Social Security would be exempt from the cuts).
Paul reminded everyone that “we teach our children that money doesn’t grow on trees, and then they grow up watching politicians pretend otherwise. Meanwhile, our debt soars past $22 trillion, endangers our country, and artificially limits what our nation can achieve. Today, the U.S. Senate can vote to put a stop to it and change course.”
Senate Republicans said nahhhh, we’re going to stick to this course. They dispatched Paul’s resolution with a quick vote and minimal debate. The vote failed 22-69 – with less than half of the Republican caucus voting in favor of the resolution. Leader Mitch McConnell was among the no votes.
Most of Paul’s colleagues have campaigned on the importance of getting our budget back in order. Yet, not only did they reject the plan, there was not a single alternative proposal or even amendments to fix our woeful fiscal outlook. Just a quick dismissal and then the Senate moved on to confirming more nominees.
Our national debt is $22 trillion and counting. Our outlook includes $100 trillion in unpaid for promises.
It takes clear vision and steady leadership to map out our fiscal challenges to the American people and what it will take to solve them.
And our nation’s current leadership could not care less.
Younger generations can no longer afford to idly sit and watch these leaders fritter away our future. We must demand accountability and action now.
This article was edited on 6/10 to clarify that Sen. Paul’s budget resolution would not require all programs to be cut by the same amount.