One of the leaders of House conservatives told Curt Schilling, the host of Whatever It Takes, that unless the Congress gets a handle on pork spending, the budget crisis in Washington will never be solved.
“The biggest threat that we have to our national security is that we will not be able to fund our military–we will not be able to fund our Medicare and Social Security,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R.-N.C.), who led the fight to oust Speaker John A. Boehner in the summer of 2015.
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Schilling asked the congressman how it happens that he and other conservatives voted against a bill that would have helped the survivors from Hurricane Sandy.
Meadows, who was born in France into a military family and grew up in Florida, said like so many well-intentioned bills, the Sandy relief bill was loaded up with so many other spending projects, including a fish hatchery in Alaska.
“It is like no crisis goes unpunished,” he said. “Any time you have an event, whether it is Hurricane Sandy or we just had Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, everybody wants to start adding on their pet projects.”
The congressman said people always talk about reforms, but he says it is too tempting to try to put something on a bill you know will pass because it is to fund something that is really important, such as veterans.
Plus, it is too easy to get a bum rap when you vote against an abuse of the process, but people assume you voted against the stated purpose of the bill, he said.
“That’s how we get in this mess and that’s how we’re going to end up bankrupting our country,” he said.
Schilling: “How do we fix that?”
Meadows said the challenge is trying to return to the normal process of legislating and budgeting.
Bills that go through the normal committee process are not as easily hijacked by special interests, he said.
“What we need to do is to make sure appropriations are exactly for what it is supposed to do,” he said. “There is an understanding that appropriations bills for each section of the government—they are focused and without policy riders or unrelated funding measures.”
There are proposals that would limit funding bills to one purpose or one agency, he said. “That has not picked up a lot of steam. A lot of people believe it intellectually we should do it, but they are just are not there.”
One of the problems is that with an issue such as veterans, there are different programs and departments involved, so it is not always practicable, Meadows said.
History shows that reforming the budget system is a lot harder than going along with it, the congressman said.