The Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Session's (R-AL) valiant attempt to stop Congress from spending $34 billion above the Budget Control Act limits was defeated yesterday by a vote of 62-37.
The fact that Sen. Sessions's attempt to slow Washington's runaway spending could not even garner the full support of Republicans paints an ominous sign for citizens worried about America's nearly $16 trillion debt.
In a press release issued after the defeat of his point of order, Sen. Sessions said:
In a sad and revealing vote, 62 Senators voted to violate the very modest spending cuts agreed to as a condition for raising the debt ceiling. Thus, the debt deal—sold as a dollar for dollar increase-to-cut ratio—has been broken.This is not a debate about the merits of the postal bill. It’s a debate about paying for it. If this bill is important, then why can’t the Senate find $34 billion in offsets over ten years? That’s only about $3 billion a year at a time when this year’s deficit alone will be $1,200 billion. Finding an offset would be easy: the Government Accountability Office has identified $400 billion spent every year on programs that are wasteful, duplicative, or inefficient.
John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog saw another lesson in the vote:
One principal lesson can be drawn from this experience. It happens all the time that Congressional leaders will trumpet a budget agreement that allegedly saves the taxpayers trillions of dollars–not now, of course, but in the “out years.” But the out years never come. Tax increases are rarely deferred to the out years; they take place now, when it counts. But spending cuts? Never today, always tomorrow.
With America's exploding national debt, and the GSA Las Vegas scandal in the news, one would think Congress would be eager to show voters some level of fiscal restraint. Not so. Yesterday's vote on something as relatively small as a $34 billion spending provision proves one thing: voters are going to have to force lawmakers to quit their spending addiction.