Sep 08, 2016

Don’t Force Spending Decisions Into the Lame Duck

Post by Freedom Partners

When Harry Reid controlled the Senate, he went four years without his chamber passing a budget. So, it wasn’t that surprising to hear now-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid reject the call to pass funding measure that extends into 2017.

But that’s exactly what he did.

When the budget process used to “work,” the House and Senate would debate and reconcile a budget and individual appropriations bills that would fund the government for the fiscal year starting on October 1. But as has been the case for several years now, this didn’t happen in 2016, meaning that when the fiscal year ends on September 30, a “stopgap” measure will be needed to keep the government up and running until the budget process is fully executed.

Not only does Harry Reid not want to advance spending bills that cover the entire fiscal year (through September 30, 2017), but he doesn’t want to consider any measure that extends funding into the 2017 calendar year! Instead, he wants to pass a spending bill that funds the government into a lame-duck session of Congress – the time period after the election but before the new Congress and president are sworn in.

If that happens, unaccountable lawmakers will be allowed to leverage a must-pass spending bill to enact higher spending and tax giveaways to special interests. By no longer being accountable to voters, it makes it easier for politicians to abandon the bipartisan spending limits to which they already agreed. With America more than $19 trillion in debt, Congress should abide by the spending cap in place.

Also concerning is the way lame duck spending bills come together – they are often crafted behind closed doors and rushed to a vote. While sometimes this is inevitable – it’s not desirable – especially when it can be avoided. Congress and the public must have ample time to review and assess the legislation on which they will vote.

Like many other lawmakers, Harry Reid and President Obama are on their way out of Washington. But before they retire, they are trying to ram through one last trillion dollar spending bill behind closed doors that will no doubt increase spending and include a wish list of handouts to special interests.

Don’t let them.

Along with more than 30 other organizations, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce has called on Congress to pass any must-pass spending bills before the election – so important decisions are not left to unaccountable lawmakers in a lame-duck session.

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