COMPASS: The Case For A Short Term CR

September 13th, 2022

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. The Compass is a day late this week as I have been out in Miami at the Conference for National Conservatism. Videos from the conference, including speeches from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Peter Thiel, Sen. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Sen. Josh Hawley, are being posted here. My remarks are linked below!

The House and Senate are both in session this week and Washington is hurtling toward a funding deadline at the end of the month. All signs point to the Continuing Resolution (CR) being another Swamp Special: a short term funding extension through mid-December, designed to push the larger debate into the lame duck session where the incentives for departing members change dramatically. (In other words, their constituencies become the special interests they can favor in the funding bill, rather than the voters they will shortly no longer represent.)

Conservatives are beginning to draw the line around better management of this debate. Instead of a CR that ends in December, why not one that moves to February, or March, where a newly constituted Congress can set the long-term spending policies for the government?

Rep. Chip Roy said it this way in Newsmax:

“We, Republicans, should not agree to spend one more dollar to advance the Democrats’ harmful, inflationary agenda – now and through any ‘lame duck session’ – that empowers bureaucrats to hire thousands of new IRS agents to target hard-working families, make plumbers pay for an Ivy Leaguer’s student loans, drive up the price of gas and electricity, or leave our borders wide open,” the plan states. “After the voters speak in November, the NEXT Congress must chart the path forward – starting with frozen spending levels.”

Sen. Rick Scott, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sen. Mike Lee said it this way in Fox News:

It’s time for Republicans to stand united and demand that Congress pass a clean continuing resolution (CR) that simply maintains current federal spending levels—and not a penny more—until a new Congress begins.

Now, before the liberal media starts losing its mind, let’s make a few things clear. First, forcing Congress to pass a clean CR will not result in ANY cuts to funding or services. What this will do is ensure that the federal government continues to operate as it must for the American people until a new Congress begins in 2023. Second, this is not some convoluted scheme to cause a government shutdown. If Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called a vote tomorrow on a clean CR that extends government funding to January 31, 2023, it would easily pass. This is about accountability and doing what’s right for American taxpayers. That’s it.

The GOP establishment will frequently throw up their hands around CR debates because “we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate.” But this is a willful distortion of the leverage Senate Republicans possess. The number 60 is far less important than the number 41 – the number of members it takes to prevent passage. Senate Republicans have the power to force their Democratic counterparts into a negotiation about the length of the CR, its structure, how the bill is considered, and the provisions it contains. Whether they do this or not is another question. In addition to the CR, the Senate is also preparing to take a vote on a bill to codify gay marriage, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. There are substantial religious liberty concerns with the legislation, outlined by the Family Research Council here. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the bill’s Republican co-sponsor, is reportedly working on an amendment to try and assuage the concerns around religious liberty. Sen. Mike Lee  is reportedly drafting a competing amendment. A cloture vote is expected potentially early next week.

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One More Thing…

I gave an address at NatCon3 called “The Fierce Urgency of How: A Natcon Agenda for 2022 and Beyond.” You can read the text here, and I expect a video will be out fairly soon.