Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. Shona tova to all those observing Rosh Hashanah.
The House and Senate are both in session this week and are up against a federal funding deadline on September 30. The forthcoming Continuing Resolution is rumored to fund the government until December 16th. I say “rumored” because, of course, no one has seen the text, least of all the members who will be asked to vote on it.
This doesn’t mean the bill isn’t already written. It’s likely already been drafted out of view by House and Senate leadership staff, the White House, and with a healthy dose of input from a handful of favored lobbyists. But it’s become a Washington tradition to spring the text of massive spending bills on members a mere handful of hours before the vote, all but ensuring that no one has time to fully read the legislation, much less digest it, understand it, or amend it. Again, this isn’t the result of having to scramble to write it; it’s intentional.
And it will be important to understand what’s in this CR, as Democrats are planning to add at least a handful of their spending priorities. There is discussion of an additional $12 billion for Ukraine. And the Biden administration is asking for additional funding for resettling Afghan refugees, funds for winter heating assistance as energy prices spike thanks to Biden’s own policies, and more funding for continued efforts around COVID-19 – even as President Biden has declared the pandemic over. (Hilariously, he was immediately contradicted by his own surgeon general and, of course, Anthony Fauci.)
But even more important is to understand what this CR will continue to fund:
- Chaos at the border, where the Daily Mail reports the number of migrants on the US terror watch list crossing illegally over the southern border has increased 400 percent from last year.
- Unworkable climate policies
- An economy careening into record setting inflation thanks to massive government spending
- An overtly politicized FBI, who over the weekend raided the home of a well known Catholic pro-life advocate in front of his seven children
- COVID-19 mandates that shut down schools and force the military out of their jobs
- 87,000 new IRS officials with a Biden mandate to audit and harass middle class Americans
- Funding critical race theory throughout the government
- Abortion “sanctuary states” like New York and California
Simply put, continuing to fund the government continues to fund the policies promoting the chaos and lawlessness wreaking havoc on the country. This is especially true of any CR passed to December with the intent to facilitate lame duck lawmaking where retiring appropriators and exiting Members of Congress are no longer beholden to the accountability of their next election – and vote accordingly. (There’s a reason Sen. Schumer has moved the vote on same sex marriage to the lame duck, where this dynamic means it has a chance of netting more Republican votes.)
The only way to avoid this scenario is to avoid a lame duck session entirely and give a newly constituted Congress the opportunity to implement their own reforms and policy priorities in the appropriations process. In the House, Rep. Chip Roy and 41 of his colleagues have made this point in a letter to their leadership, writing:
“As the September 30th federal funding deadline approaches, Republicans must do what is necessary to ensure that not one additional penny will go toward this administration’s radical, inflationary agenda. Any legislation that sets the stage for a “lame duck” fight on government funding gives Democrats one final opportunity to pass that agenda.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, will oppose any continuing resolution that expires prior to the first day of the 118th Congress, or any appropriations package put forward in the remaining months of this Democrat-led Congress.”
Sen. Mike Lee and 13 of his colleagues sent a similar letter to Senate leadership, noting:
“Failure to stand strong against lame-duck spending and caving to the Democrats will likely worsen inflation, prolong the current economic recession, and advance policies contained in the Biden administration’s progressive wish list.”
The first procedural vote on a CR to December will take place in the Senate on Tuesday.
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