This is one of those paradigm shift CTH predictions that many people scoffed at back in 2015/2016 when we discussed a Trump federal budget, and how Washington DC politicians would respond to a president who actually planned to cut spending. Back in February we warned:
[…] The UniParty is going to fight hard, very hard, to retain their spending. Don’t be surprised to see GOPe “conservatives” demanding President Trump spend more money. We have been repeating this warning since he announced his bid for the presidency in 2015. (link)
Today’s headline reads “Fears Grow That Trump Could Ignore Congress on Spending“. Traditional thinking, at first glance of the headline, would be the President might ignore budgetary levels and spend more than he should. However, in reality, the paradigm shift is the exact opposite. DC is worried that President Trump won’t spend enough money.
Let that sink in for a minute.
THAT’S a prime example of: A.) evidence of the DC UniParty; and, B.) how ridiculously dysfunctional and broken the federal budgetary and spending process has become. DC lawmakers are now consulting attorneys and planning to sue the President and force him to spend money.
WASHINGTON – Lawmakers and activists are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump’s administration, in its zeal to slash the federal budget, will take the rare step of deliberately not spending all the money Congress gives it — a move sure to trigger legal and political battles.
The concern is mainly focused on the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn criticism for failing to spend $80 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian and terrorist propaganda and for trying to freeze congressionally authorized fellowships for women and minorities. Activists and congressional officials fear such practices could take hold at other U.S. departments and agencies under Trump.
“We’ve seen just too many instances these past few months … where there is clear congressional intent and funds provided, yet an unwillingness or inability to act,” Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement to POLITICO.
Advocacy groups are consulting lawyers and gathering information on current spending and the laws that govern the budget; one nongovernmental-organization network is even surveying humanitarian organizations to gather more facts. Capitol Hill staffers are scouring the fine print of appropriations bills, hunting for loopholes that would allow the executive branch to slow down or stop spending. (read more)
It’s bizzarro world.
Good grief. Republicans control the House and Senate. Republicans don’t need a single Democrat to pass a budget. Not one. The House originates a budget with a simple majority, and the Senate passes it with reconciliation (51 votes). [That’s actually the primary and original intent of the “reconciliation” process in the senate.]
We haven’t had a federal budget in a decade. The last federal budget was signed into law by George W. Bush in September of 2007 for fiscal year 2008. The entire Obama presidency went two terms without a single budget ever passed by congress and signed into law.
Now, the same DC apparatus who intentionally avoided any spending restrictions during the Obama years is suing the first year Trump administration for not spending money.
♦ President Trump is proposing a 10% first year increase in defense spending. That equals approximately $54 billion more for defense. If you look at the income from his projected GDP growth (4% = $200 billion), you can see how easily that expenditure is covered.
♦ President Trump is proposing significant wholesale cuts to all other departments including Dept of State and EPA. The U.S. State Department has over 70,000 employees, that alone is ridiculous. Easily the DoS can eliminate 20% of staff, and find efficiencies well beyond those numbers.
Essentially, President Trump’s proposed budget outline (full pdf and explanation here) is a decrease of 10% per department. Easily attainable, especially when you consider these departments have been operating at around 3% rates of growth due to nine years of base-line budget growth without a federal budget in place.
You only need to look back to 2006 to see federal spending was under $3 trillion. Fiscal year 2008 was the last year we had a federal budget in place. Every year since then has been continuing resolutions, omnibus spending, debt ceiling increases and base-line budget growth (spend 3% more) based on prior year expenditures.
President Trump is the first President in 30 years to actually propose a budget that reduces spending in whole numbers from the prior year.
President Trump is proposing a reduction in actual spending, not a reduction in the rate of growth of spending. Remember, 3% of the proposed cut is just not spending more than the prior year (that’s the base-line budget growth); consequently depending on the department the actual cut is much less than 10%.
The UniParty is going to fight hard, very hard, to retain their spending. Don’t be surprised to see GOPe “conservatives” demanding President Trump spend more money. We have been repeating this warning since he announced his bid for the presidency in 2015.