For once I agree with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., "the Democrats cleaned our clock" on the budget — and as a defense hawk he received better than the rest getting two-thirds of what he wanted!
The cave in on domestic spending was shameful. After sending a budget plan for 2018 promising cuts for every agency except Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans, just about every other agency received an increase for the rest of this year. Real critical stuff like former Vice-President Joe Biden’s "moonshot" 21st Century Cures Act, increased funds for an Energy bureau slated for abolishment, and more for Centers of Disease Control (CDC) labs they cannot keep clear of impurities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)was supposed to be cut 33 percent but was reduced an insolent one percent instead. Money-losing Amtrak received a $105 million increase. Arts and humanities elites received $2 million more each. After targeting conservatives politically the IRS budget was spared any cuts (actually an increase in absolute terms).
The National Park Service received $81 million more so its careerists can celebrate its centennial. Space voyages were increased by $368 million, leading to one of its bureaucrats responding, "this is a wonderful budget for NASA, higher than either the Senate or House proposed."
The liberal Corporation for Public Broadcasting escaped any cuts so it can better compete with Fox News. Planned Parenthood got funded too.
The careerists at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) even snuck in a provision to require presidential executive orders receive a OMB cost estimate before they can be issued and, to add insult to injury, another provision to freeze political executive’s pay — but not careerist pay.
The biggest concession was not even in the budget. White House negotiators pledged to pay Obamacare subsidies to insurance companies, assuring Obamacare will survive another year, now under Republican auspices. Forget about the House health bill. It will never become law. If the president and HHS do not reform by executive action we will have Obamacare forever.
No wonder President Trump erupted in the wee hours of the morning-after, texting that the budget was a disaster and that "our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix the mess!" He added, we need "either to elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 percent" so that the Democratic minority could no longer demand such outrageous spending. The GOP Senate leadership immediately responded it would never change the rules.
No, the only answer is a shutdown. Unfortunately the president did not exercise his shutdown veto and no one believes Congress will reduce spending anywhere near his 2018 budget cuts as it comes closer to the election year. Frightened congressmen might even override a veto then. Indeed, the no-votes this time did not come near the one-third needed to sustain a veto.
Congress now smells executive weakness and the Democrats are already talking about re-taking the House. The only way the President can change that calculation, as Mr. Trump surmised, is to shut the government down.
Many of course, tell the president it would be an absolute disaster to shut it down. But take a closer look who is giving this advice — Democrats, establishment Republicans, government careerists, progressive intellectuals, and, naturally, the responsible media — and we all know how much they want to help Donald Trump.
Follow a strong president instead. Ronald Reagan shut the government down eight times during his presidency, the first time on a similar budget when Congress refused to cut spending. Of course, essential government functions continued while the government was "shut down" and he went on to have one of the most successful presidencies of modern times.
The only way to drain the swamp is to shut it down, and do so now while the president still has support from his friends.
And while at it close down OMB for weakening executive power and stop subsidizing the health insurance companies.
Trump voters would love it all.
Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies, the author of "America’s Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition and Constitution," and was Ronald Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during his first term. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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