Deficit hawks brace for year-end spending blowout: ‘Massive, expensive, unprecedented’

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Lawmakers and groups worried about the economic costs of an exploding federal budget are warning Democrats not to make the situation worse with an expensive, last-minute bill that “must” be passed in order to avoid a partial government shutdown.

On Monday afternoon, Democrats are expected to announce just that – the details of a massive bill funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year that piles on more spending. In addition to a hefty increase for defense and non-defense spending, the bill could include any number of expensive items such as funding for Ukraine, a costly Medicare bailout, extended tax breaks and even more money for COVID.

Depending on what’s in there, it could mean another $500 billion in borrowing over the course of the year tacked onto the $31.3 trillion national debt.

And while Democrats are running the show, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., noted last week that Senate Republican leaders seem to have accepted the spending outline agreed last week, even though 41 GOP senators voting “no” could stop the bill.

“This brings upon us the lie that Republicans really are fiscally conservative,” Paul told FOX Business last week.

“We have completely and totally abdicated the power of the purse,” he said. “Republicans are emasculated, they have no power and they are unwilling to gain that power back.”

While the situation looks bleak for supporters of a fiscally responsible government, groups that support that goal have nonetheless been urging lawmakers to show restraint.

“The current Congress should not pass an omnibus spending bill just weeks away from the beginning of a new Congress. National Taxpayers Union (NTU) opposes omnibus spending increases that will increase federal deficits and debt in the long run, and could even contribute to inflation in the short run,” Nicholas Johns, NTU’s public policy and government affairs manager, wrote to congressional leaders late last week.

Johns warned that the speed of this last-minute spending bill, coupled with the expectation that lawmakers will return home for the holidays, makes for bad public policy and is a system that is “fraught with risks for taxpayers.”

“While it would be appropriate to address some expired or expiring tax policies to ensure there are no significant disruptions to a recovering economy, this bill should not become a ‘Christmas tree’ full of an assortment of unrelated policies that have not gone through the regular legislative process,” he said.

Congress late last week passed a short-term bill that will keep the government fully funded until the end of this week, Dec. 23. But Eric Teetsel, vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, said he expects that delay will only end up costing taxpayers more.

“A one-week extension only allows for more time to write and pass a massive, expensive, unprecedented omnibus spending bill,” Teetsel said last week. “Spending bills should reflect the priorities of the American people as demonstrated by their votes in the recent election.”

Congress late last week passed a short-term bill that will keep the government fully funded until the end of this week, Dec. 23. But Eric Teetsel, vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, said he expects that delay will only end up costing taxpayers more.

“A one-week extension only allows for more time to write and pass a massive, expensive, unprecedented omnibus spending bill,” Teetsel said last week. “Spending bills should reflect the priorities of the American people as demonstrated by their votes in the recent election.”

“Conversely, outgoing members of Congress should not saddle new members, and the American people they represent, with trillions in wasteful, radical spending programs for which they will never be held accountable, including $16 billion in earmarks,” he added.

“Policymakers have added nearly $5 trillion to projected debt over the past two years through legislation and executive actions. It’s no surprise that inflation has surged, and interest rates are rising,” she said.

Deficit hawks continue to argue that the answer to inflationary federal spending and rising levels of national debt that is becoming more expensive to service is that Congress needs to spend less. Last week, one House Republican begged is colleagues to spend more time on this growing problem, a plea that is so far going unanswered.

“We need to work our heinies off to get every dollar of waste and fraud out of the system,” argued Rep. Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz. “We need to stop designing insane systems where we hand out money and we are going to figure out if you should have gotten it a year or two years or three years later.”

“It is a spending problem,” he added. “I beg of us – you look at charts like this and you understand, it really is a spending, it is a structural spending problem.”

Source Fox