Tags: Congress | CR | omnibus | shutdown | spending | GOP

Rick Ungar: GOP's CR Spending Bill Is Fairy Tale-Turned-Horror Story

Wednesday, 03 Dec 2014 02:42 PM

Once upon a time, four long, long weeks ago — a lifetime in short attention span America — there arose a great and joyous election across the land.

So immense was the victory of the commoners, as this fairy tale goes, glasses of rum and good tidings were raised in celebration throughout the land as prayers of thanks were offered up to The Great Benefactors — The Brotherhood Of The Kochs — for vanquishing the evil that had cast a cold shadow upon the land.

That evil?

He whom must not be named yet seeks to fashion a crown of glory upon his head with which to rule as supreme emperor over the great land.

At long last, ye olde Republicans could lift their heads in praise to the heavens as he who would be king was toppled from his ignoble, big government steed.

Thanks to the great victory, the forces who rose up against the evil would soon travel to the magical city of Washington where they would pass an actual budget and, henceforth, get the great land’s financial extravagances under control, once and for all time.

And who were these mighty victors who had arrived in the nick of time to save the people? They were majestically named The Republicans and they were coming to usher in the day when the land would once again rejoice in its greatness forevermore.

Or were they?

You see, not all fairy tales have happy endings and, alas, this tale was to be no different.

For suddenly, arising out of the East with a sound and fury as loud as Gideon’s trumpet yet, somehow, magically muffled so as to allow the serfs and servants of the land to rest peacefully in their sleep, never suspecting that their savior had, in truth, arrived in a cloak of dishonesty, came "CRomnibus" — a fire-breathing dragon conjured up by the victorious congressional Republicans.

It was a sleight of hand and misdirection so mighty as to befit the great Merlin himself.

Okay … had enough of this fairy tale that is spinning towards an unhappy ending thanks to the latest in disingenuous behavior on the part of Congressional Republicans?

I know I have.

'CRomnibus' — yes, it’s a real thing — is an acronym for the "Continuing Resolution Omnibus," the brainchild of a Republican leadership working to convince Americans that they are busy plotting to put the screws to Obama’s effort to deal with immigration via executive order while avoiding a government shutdown as a result of doing so.

The GOP proposed CR would fund the entirety of the federal government through September 2015, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which would only be funded for three months.

By taking this approach, the Republican leadership has cleverly created a tool for the new Congress whereby they can use the DHS as a leverage point against Obama’s efforts to allow some 5 million illegals to stay in the country, making it look like the President is playing fast and loose with our safety and security in deference to his desire to toss around the sort of executive orders that Republicans believe are more the work of a king than a president.

Never mind the fact that the President’s executive order on immigration is funded completely by fees, not budget allocations, meaning that this effort is completely without teeth and only exists for political purposes.

Politically clever? Maybe.

But the true thrust of CRomnibus is about something far more insidious to the very people who sent all these new Republicans to the House and Senate as a part of the next Congress— something that should be all too apparent to even those most grievously afflicted by the Obama allergy.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Did the nation not just elect a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress to be seated in January of 2015? Did the voters not do so for the purpose of getting government spending under control (the perennial GOP promise)? Did Republican candidates everywhere not run on the idea of finally having a real budget as opposed to a series of never-ending continuing resolutions — not to mention a budget that would deliver on the cuts Republicans have been pitching and running on for so many years?

If this is truly what the Republicans intended to do in the new Congress, how is it that the GOP crop currently in Congress now seek to fund the government — with the sole exception of Homeland Security — through September of next year, as opposed to passing a short-term continuing resolution that would take us to the early days of the new, GOP packed Congress?

That would be the all new and improved GOP controlled Congress that promises an actual budget that is sensible, balanced, and designed to get the nation’s finances back on the right track.

By proposing and backing yet another CR that would fund the government for the next year, a truth that Republicans would spend a lifetime running from is brought into stark reality — Congressional Republicans really don’t want to cut the size or spending in government and never did.

While small central government, complete with a smaller and balanced budget, sounds just swell to those who elect these Republicans to their seats, the legislators know all too well that actually cutting the federal budget means real pain to the pocketbooks of the very same working-class people who cast those votes in favor or Republican candidates. They know that were the deed to be actually done, it would not end up playing so well in their home states and congressional districts come the next election cycle.

What’s more, inflicting economic pain on people who vote is hardly the way Republicans want to set the table for a 2016 presidential year when so many GOPers believe that the tide of history is turning in their direction.

Rather than actually fulfill their promise to get a grip on the nation’s spending habits by passing an actual budget, GOP leadership has, instead, opted for the more politically attractive option involving putting on a clever show of misdirection.

By getting the GOP base all fired up in support of playing the Obama card yet again — this time in the guise of short-term funding of Homeland Security to make it appear that they are going to war over the President’s immigration executive order — the hope is that the base will fail to notice that the Congressional Republicans are, yet again, punting on passing a real budget that would deliver on their campaign promises.

How else can you possibly explain the GOP leadership not seeking a CR that would fund the government for only as long as necessary to get their new majorities installed in the House and Senate so that they can take on the budget with the cutting gusto they have long promised?

Some would argue that they are doing this in the knowledge that a short-term CR would result in a presidential veto, forcing the government to shut down as the White House and Congress end up in another stand-off.

After all, conventional wisdom tells us that such a shut-down is bad for GOP political fortunes.

Yet, if we’ve learned anything from the last government shut down — that would be the one where the pundits and politicians promised electoral disaster for the GOP in punishment for their behavior — we’ve learned that conventional wisdom is way off and that Americans forget about these government shut downs as quickly as they forget about missing airliners that are never found.

With the election of the largest GOP House majority since The Great Depression and a new GOP majority in the Senate, I think we can all agree that the great government shut down of September 2013 did not produce disaster for Republicans in November of 2014.

The simple reality is that Republicans, while understandably quick to run on a platform of financial responsibility, have no more desire to attack government over-spending than Democrats.

At the end of the day, it is simply bad politics.

The moral to the story is that if you are one who is allowing yourself to be bamboozled by this latest bit of GOP misdirection, and believe that your great 2014 victory means you are destined to achieve a happy ending thanks to your new Republican majority, then your fairy tale is about to turn into one nasty horror story.

If you doubt this for a moment, the great dragon 'CRomnibus' is proof-positive that the 'happily-ever-after' promised you by your newly elected champions is certainly not to be the fairy tale ending you imagined four long weeks ago.


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Rick Ungar, writing in Forbes, argues that in proposing a CR spending bill that funds the government for the next year, the GOP leadership has betrayed voters and unveiled a stark reality: Congressional Republicans really don’t want to cut the size or spending in government and never did.
Congress, CR, omnibus, shutdown, spending, GOP
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2014-42-03
Wednesday, 03 Dec 2014 02:42 PM
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