By Dan Calabrese
Spend, baby, spend!
That’s what they do in Washington, and now that they’ve just passed the kind of omnibus spending blowout they dream of night and day, you didn’t really think they were going to rescind any of that spending, did you?
President Trump is going to ask Congress to do so, and it can be done under the Impoundment Act of 1974 without fear of a Senate filibuster. But why do Democrats need filibusters when they’ve got Republicans like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to do their work for them?
Apparently, they don’t:
Any attempt to roll back spending is likely to trigger a backlash from Democrats who negotiated the extra domestic funding in exchange for agreeing to a bigger budget for the Pentagon. Although Democrats wouldn’t be able to block it, some Republicans may be reluctant to blow up one of the few bipartisan agreements that have made it through the House and Senate.
The spending bill passed the House on a 256-167 vote and the Senate on a 65-32 vote last month, the result of more than a month of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in Congress to end a cycle of government shutdown threats and stopgap spending bills.
“It probably would be a tough vote over here,” with the GOP’s slim 51-49 majority, third-ranking Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota told reporters.
“It would depend a lot on what’s in it,” Thune said. “But I think there are a lot of our members who feel like we’ve litigated these issues over the last couple of years, we came up with budget numbers and everyone agreed to them.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told reporters the idea was “ill-advised” and would make negotiating next year’s appropriations “very difficult.”
Asked Monday if appropriators were throwing cold water on the notion of pursuing rescissions, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said, “Well, this one is.”
Opposition from Collins and Murkowski — as well as the indefinite absence of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — would mean that Republicans would be unable to muscle through a rescission bill on their own.
In all likelihood McCain would not help matters if he was present, but if Collins and Murkowski refuse to support rescission it’s a moot point anyway. The decision of Alabama Republicans to nominate Roy Moore means we only have 51 Republicans in the Senate, so without Collins and Murkowski you don’t even have enough votes to even get to the point where a Mike Pence tiebreaker is possible.
There are other Republicans who are fretting that rescission of domestic spending Democrats wanted would poison the well for future negotiations with Democrats. Because Chuck Schumer would never use a procedural hammer to get what he wanted!
Here’s a thought: Vote to get rid of the filibuster. That way you wouldn’t need Democratic votes to pass budgets, and you wouldn’t need to lard up omnibus spending bills with Chuck Schumer’s demands in order to get to 60 votes, thus creating the need to talk about rescission in the first place. But Senate Republicans seem determined to hang onto the filibuster so they can use it when they’re in the minority, which will likely come soon if they continue to refuse to govern responsibly.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!