Why bother voting for Republicans?
Once again, congressional Republicans delivered a swift kick to the crotch of their voters, in the form of their proposed budget this week. Congressional big spenders reached a deal Sunday, with a bill over 1,600 pages in length. Almost as long as Obamacare. But at least it's a budget. Last year, Congress had no budget, instead papering over their fiscal irresponsibility via temporary spending measures.
Since this budget is proposed by the Republican Congress, with the expectation of the Republican president signing it into law, one would reasonably expect that the budget represents Republican priorities – funding programs promoted on the campaign trail and cutting or eliminating spending which they campaigned against.
What were President Trump's priorities as a candidate? Build the wall. Cut wasteful spending on Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other financial black holes.
What about congressional campaign promises? Remember their priorities over the past eight years to rein in out-of-control spending by Obama and the Democrats? Including Obamacare and trillion-dollar deficits?
In 2010, Republicans told us they needed to win the House before they could repeal Obamacare and advance a conservative agenda. Done. In 2014, they told us they needed the Senate, too. Done.
Yet nothing from Congress other than excuses. Afraid of the Obama veto pen, they told us they needed a Republican president to get anything done.
Here we are with a Republican Congress and president, and if I didn't know any better, I'd say the Democrats are still in charge.
Photo credit: Michael Key, Washington Blade
Leading Democrats certainly like this week's budget deal. Chuck Schumer happily announced, "This agreement is a good agreement for the American people." Nancy Pelosi was similarly pleased "that Democrats won the removal of about 160 partisan riders." Good to know that leaders of the political party that lost over 1,200 elected seats over the past eight years got much of what they wanted in the budget and are pleased.
What about Republicans? What about the voters responsible for sending the Democratic Party into exile, a total repudiation of their liberal agenda? Programs that should have been cut or eliminated are funded, all contrary to myriad campaign promises.
What isn't funded? The wall – Trump's signature campaign issue first mentioned during his glide down the escalator at Trump Tower when he announced his candidacy.
Back to my original question. Why bother voting for Republicans? Controlling the legislative and executive branches of the federal government means nothing. It's as if the Democrats were still in charge – 2008 all over again.
Here we are, 100 days into the Trump administration with a Republican majority not seen in decades. Obamacare hasn't been repealed. Tax reform is nothing but talk. Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities are funded. And the wall is a wall to nowhere.
It's obvious that congressional Republicans have no interest in following through on their campaign promises. Or on the major campaign agenda items of their president. Why weren't these bills written and submitted on inauguration day? The Obama stimulus bill was written and ready to go on day one.
Unfortunately for President Trump, he has no allies in Washington, D.C. The Democrats loathe him. Same for the bureaucratic Deep State, lobbyists, and the media. But what about his own party? What about those enjoying the electoral majority he helped secure who have no use for Trump and his agenda? How can a reasonable person conclude otherwise?
Now what? The ball is now in Trump's court. The White House should write the legislation, rather than the Chamber of Commerce and other GOP donors. Trump could also take a stand and veto this budget, as it doesn't reflect his priorities. Gutsy move, but this is a gutsy president.
Send the budget funding sanctuary cities but not a border wall back to Ryan and McConnell to fix. If the government shuts down, so what? Send Congress back to the drawing board, rather than meekly accepting a budget the Democrats and the media are thrilled about.
Otherwise, why vote Republican? As Mrs. Clinton said, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"