Several times in recent months, President Joe Biden mocked Republicans who had called his legislative agenda “socialist,” but afterward worked to channel some of the cash back to their districts. “I was surprised to see there are so many socialists in the Republican Party,” he said in October.
The problem with today’s omnibus spending packages funding federal departments and agencies—like the 4,155-page package containing at last glance $772 billion in discretionary spending plus $858 billion for wars we supposedly ended—is that big-government progressivism is increasingly baked in the cake. Leading Senate Republicans, though, are prepared to vote “aye” this week despite their coming into power in a month. This is a missed opportunity.
Despite some Senators’ claim that they are holding the line on non-defense discretionary spending in a bill none of them have read, the agencies Congress is about to fund are colluding on big-government pursuits and overarching “plans” and policy guidance on the likes of climate, equity and antitrust with little pushback from Congress.
Instead, Congress is more concerned about a shutdown deadline this week to complete the spending package. Most agencies and programs should be shut down. What tools exist to see that they are, apart from budgeting?
Postponing any omnibus until the 118th Congress next month with a temporary funding extension should be the least demanded of GOP negotiators. The $2 trillion deficits on track to swamp us before the end of the decade are larger than total yearly outlays were during the 1990s.
Since “shutdown” does not really mean shutdown—taxes keep coming out of your paycheck—and have occurred numerous times before with few noticing, it is arguably necessary to use occasions like the current budget impasse to extract concessions for curbing government growth. GOP Senate leadership should not sit out this fight.
So, GOP, for just on this one point, heed President Biden: Don’t be socialist. Stop funding runaway federal spending and the administrative state. The pressures created by shutdown battles are an opportunity to restore a nation the Framers would recognize.
So, let the government be closed this Christmas. That can mean a Happier New Year.
(For more on the Omnibus see “What Republicans Can Do about the Federal Budget Now.”)