The Republican Party needed just 90 days to tumble from triumph to self-humiliation.
On Dec. 22, 2017 President Donald J. Trump signed the $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the most significant levy reduction since 1986. Even Trump’s critics conceded that Republicans ended 2017 on an unexpectedly high note, with their free-market banners flapping smartly in the tail winds.
But on March 22 of this year, the GOP House hosted a drunken orgy of bipartisan fiscal recklessness. The resulting $1.3 trillion omnibus bill should have been steered off a cliff.
The omnibus hiked military outlays by $80 billion. After years of Obama’s Pentagon spending from behind, higher expenditures on weapons and warriors made sense, although the precise amount seemed to be: "More!" To garner Democratic support of the GOP’s national security priorities, Republicans co-sponsored Democrats’ social-spending bacchanal:
- A 12.5 percent hike in low-income housing credits
- $145 million for federal apprenticeship subsidies — 53 percent above the $95 million shelled out last year
- $152.8 million each, for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, not the $0 that Trump originally budgeted
- $456 million more for IRS operations than Trump requested
- Beneath the headline "Progressive Policy Wins in the Omnibus," a Center for American Progress article gushes, "The bill includes an unprecedented increase in federal child care funding, expanding current discretionary resources by 80 percent for a total of $5 billion in 2018."
- The omnibus finances fugitive cities that harbor violent illegal-alien criminals
Conversely, this bill prohibits funds for President Trump’s border-wall prototypes. They now languish in the San Diego, California desert, awaiting the cash to shield the southern frontier.
This GOP epic fail was totally unnecessary.
Republicans began 2018 on a roll. Their tax cuts gained popularity as 468 companies, to date, started to share their savings with some 4 million employees via bonuses and increased wages, benefits, and business-development investments.
The Schumer Shutdown soon detonated in Democrats’ faces like an exploding cigar.
What the Associated Press called "the strongest nine-month stretch of growth in a dozen years," plus rising corporate and consumer confidence, confirmed GOP economic prowess.
Republicans then pitched these advantages into the garbage.
February’s budget deal blew some $300 billion above previous spending caps and hiked outlays 14 percent — seven times last year’s 2.1 percent inflation rate. Last week’s omnibus then smothered any remaining Republican claim on its signature issue.
U.S. House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cannot trade horses. Yes, Republicans hold a precarious, 51-seat Senate majority. Until they scrap the filibuster, Democrats will hold inordinate sway.
Still, Ryan and McConnell should have demanded:
- Immediate border-wall funds in exchange for legalizing 800,000 DACA recipients.
- Subsidies that finance state-level women’s health programs, rather than Planned Parenthood. Abortion-funding decisions should shift from Washington to America’s state capitals.
- Domestic-spending hikes, if any, no higher than inflation.
- Private-sector audits for every federal agency, complete with recommendations for reform or repeal.
- Democrats would debate each presidential nomination for just three hours, not a crippling 30, and drop endless "holds" on nominees, such as Sen. Jeff Merkley’s, D-Ore., freeze on Richard Grennel, U.S. ambassador-designate to Germany.
Had Democrats spurned these modest proposals, Republicans should have blamed them for closing the government on March 23. Had Republicans collectively scraped together three vertebrae, they could have crushed "Schumer Shutdown: the Sequel." Instead, Republicans collapsed like jelly fish.
Thus, the GOP has flushed fiscal conservatism into the sea. Its leaders no longer can advocate limited government without inspiring sneers. And all because they didn’t even try.
As for November’s mid-term elections, Trump-hating Democrats will crawl chin-first over lava to reach the polls and punish their anti-Christ. Republicans will require equal fervor to counteract the left’s infinite rage and impressive talent for showing up — as last week’s March for Our Lives gun-control extravaganza demonstrated.
The GOP will lose their tenuous grip on Congress if they make their loyalists hurl into buckets. Deep down, one wonders, do Washington Republicans really want to keep control?
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. He has been a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Read more opinions from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.
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