Federal Budget

House Republicans About to Vote on Trillion-Dollar Spending Bill They Haven’t Read

Featured image Last month, the Paul Ryan-Patty Murray discretionary spending bill was unveiled. Sort of unveiled, anyway: it didn’t actually exist, but was summarized in a series of bullet points. Now the bill has taken tangible form. Here it is, all 2,860 pages, including explanatory statements: The House is expected to vote on the omnibus spending bill tomorrow, less than 48 hours after copies became available. No one will have read the »

Downsizing Washington: The Series!

Featured image Forget House of Cards! The good folks at the Cato Institute have begun producing a series of short videos about downsizing the ultimate (fiscal) house of cards, the federal government.  Sounds like an overdue idea.  We’ll run a few of them here on Power Line, starting with the one below examining the Department of Agriculture (about 3 minutes long), but if you can’t wait to take in the whole series, »

Return of the Golden Fleece

Featured image The late Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire issued a monthly Golden Fleece Award to public officials who bestowed taxpayers’ funds on risible projects. Senator Proxmire issued the award for more than a decade until he retired from the Senate in 1989. Proxmire was a vanishing breed of Democrat who purported to oppose government waste while supporting all the Great Society programs that really opened the spigots, yet the spirit of his »

Murray to veterans victimized by her budget deal: Ryan’s bad

Featured image As John and others have pointed out, the Murray-Ryan budget compromise cuts spending by reducing cost of living increases in military pensions. The reduction even applies to disabled veterans. Naturally, there has been a backlash against these cuts. So naturally, Patty Murray (but apparently not Paul Ryan) is trying to distance herself from them. Murray’s people are blaming Ryan. But these cuts could not have seen the light of day »

Democrats Prioritize Illegal Aliens Over Veterans

Featured image The Ryan-Murray budget deal cuts spending by reducing cost of living increases in military pensions. This provision was troubling to Senator Jeff Sessions, who is a spending hawk but thinks there are lots of items in the federal budget that should be cut before veterans’ benefits. As usual, I think Sessions is right. Harry Reid runs the Senate with an autocratic hand. One of his favorite tricks is called “filling »

Senate votes to cut-off debate over budget compromise

Featured image By a vote of 67-33, the Senate has invoked cloture on the Murray-Ryan budget compromise, thus ending debate and paving the way for passing the bill. As I understand it, all 55 Senate Democrats voted for cloture and were joined by 12 Republicans. The 12 Republicans are: Lamar Alexander, Roy Blunt, Saxby Chambliss, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, John Hoeven, Johnny Isakson, Ron Johnson, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and »

Paul Ryan — the new center of the Republican establishment

Featured image Marc Thiessen disputes the conventional wisdom that Republicans should accept the Murray-Ryan budget compromise because if they don’t, they will be blamed for an ensuing government shutdown. He notes that unlike with the October shutdown over Obamacare, this time it would be the Democrats who are trying to force a change to established law. I made the same point last week: Republicans received most of the blame for the recent »

Murray-Ryan deal heads towards finish line

Featured image The Murray-Ryan budget deal almost surely will pass the Senate, but Republicans are making supporters of the compromise sweat a little: “The struggle is still on in the United States Senate; we will need about eight Republicans to come our way. I feel we’ll have a good, strong showing from the Democratic side. But we need bipartisan support to pass it,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CBS’s “Face »

Paul Ryan’s illusory boast

Featured image In an interview on MSNBC, Paul Ryan blasted Marco Rubio for opposing the Murray-Ryan budget deal before reading it. Ryan’s criticism is largely specious. Where, as here, a legislator deals in secret and then hopes to ram the product through Congress before opposition has a chance to jell, the natural response by potential opponents is to gather as much information as possible about the bargain before it is sprung. If »

Ryan denies selling out Senate Republicans

Featured image The office of Rep. Paul Ryan has denied the report by NRO’s Jonathan Strong that the budget deal Ryan negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray limits the ability of Republican Senators to block tax increases. I linked to Strong’s report last night and criticized the deal on that basis. You can read here about Ryan’s pushback and the pushback to that pushback from Strong’s sources. To me it seems clear that »

Boehner’s weak attack on Conservative “outside” groups

Featured image Speaker Boehner has blasted conservative outside groups for their opposition to the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Presumably, his attack is aimed at such groups as Heritage Action, Freedom Works, and the Club for Growth. Boehner claims that such groups “have lost all credibility.” Asked whether these groups should stand down, the Speaker responded, “I don’t care what they do.” The House leadership has also suggested that the outside groups are fighting »

Paul Ryan then and now

Featured image In 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan put forth a bold plan to reform Medicare. His plan had no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less being signed into law by President Obama. But, as one of Ryan’s aides told me, the Congressman felt that the current entitlement system is a time bomb waiting to explode and bring down America. Thus, he perceived a duty to propose legislation that would fix »

Paul Ryan sells out Senate Republicans

Featured image Did Paul Ryan sell out conservatives by agreeing to a compromise budget deal with ultra-liberal Patty Murray? I wouldn’t go that far. In my view, reasonable conservatives can disagree on the overall merit of the deal. I tend to agree with »

Today’s Budget Agreement: Good Politics, Maybe, But Not Good Policy [Updated]

Featured image The current continuing resolution on federal spending expires in January, and Paul Ryan (on behalf of the Republican House) has been negotiating with Patty Murray (on behalf of the Democratic Senate) for an agreement to set spending levels for the remainder of FY 2014. It is not hard to understand the political considerations that drive House Republicans: the Democrats have been threatening to shut down the government again, as a »

Say It Ain’t So, Paul!

Featured image We’ve been hearing rumblings for a while about the negotiations between Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Paul Ryan on next year’s spending. The Democrats hate the sequester, which was flawed (mainly because the spending constraints fall too heavily on the military) but nevertheless was one of the signal Republican achievements of recent years. The sequester represents the only perceptible check on the growth of federal spending »

Shutdown theater: How is it playing?

Featured image Over the past week we have witnessed the impressive shutdown theater engineered by the Obama administration. By shutdown theater I am referring to the closing or Barrycading of such landmarks as the WWII memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial. What is to be learned? This is political hardball, intended to induce unconditional surrender in the current and prospective budget/debt showdowns. Obama asserts a maximalist position »

Government Shutdown Includes Brains, Apparently

Featured image Wolf Blitzer is one of the less annoying newsreaders on CNN (I know, that’s like being distinguished as the tallest building in Wichita*), but he proves himself a Connoisseur of the Obvious with his acknowledgement that shutting down the Obamacare websites for the weekend is “an embarrassment” for the administration: “An embarrassment for the administration,” Blitzer stated. “Hopefully, they’ll get all those glitches out of the way by Monday, if »