Sen. Sessions; GOP Should Pick New House Speaker Before Voting On $8 Trillion Budget Plan

Paul Ryan and Jeff Sessions ApplewhiteAP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Jeff Sessions is urging GOP legislators to pass a short-term budget that will create time for legislators and voters to look inside Washington’s latest budget maneuver — the secretly negotiated, two-year $8 trillion budget plan.

He also wants House legislators to pick their new House Speaker before debating the two-year budget, which largely frees Obama from congressional pushback for the rest of his eight-year tenure.

The Oct. 31 budget “deadline is artificial and can easily be pushed back with a short-term [budget] measure… Republicans should insist that any vote on spending caps or the debt ceiling be delayed until the House has chosen a new Speaker — and until there has been a full conversation among our conference and, most importantly, our voters, ” said an Oct. 27 statement from Sessions, a leading anti-establishment populist in D.C.

Under current plans, Rep. Paul Ryan will stand for election Thursday, Oct. 29, just after GOP leaders rush the little-understood $8 trillion plan through the House.

“GOP voters are entitled to have their representatives represent them – not act as opposing counsel, urging them to capitulate to the President’s demands,” he said in his statement. “Whether it’s spending, debt, crime, immigration or trade, it is time for us to start fighting for what our voters want – instead of demeaning their just concerns about the future of our country,” he said.

Sessions is a budget expert. In late 2014, he was in line to chair the Senate’s budget committee, but he was bumped out by a close ally of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He now chairs the Senate’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.

Sessions slammed the entire deal:

“At its core, this deal with President Obama does two things: First, it lifts federal spending caps for the next two years – including a $40 billion increase in spending on the federal bureaucracy.

Second, it waives the federal debt limit through March of 2017, allowing for approximately $1.5 trillion to be added to the debt – ensuring no further conversation about our debt course or any corresponding action to alter it…

It appears this deal is built on the same principles as the Ryan-Murray budget deal from 2013.  It exchanges instant increases in federal spending for distant savings, as much two decades down the road, that are likely to never materialize.  It funds increased spending through increased revenues – violating a core budget principle by collecting more money to expand an already too-large federal bureaucracy.  And it trades the termination of today’s spending limits for the promise of new spending limits ten years from now.

The spending caps in law today were pledged as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act agreement to lift the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion.  They represented a bipartisan commitment to cap spending at a fixed amount.  This deal shatters that commitment by spending $80 billion more than we promised over the next 2 years.

Notably, Sessions highlighted the language in the plan that would move $150 billion in Social Security revenues over to the “fraud-ridden Social Security Disability” program. Enrollment in that program has rocketed up during the last few years, partly because many older Americans remain unemployed in Obama’s slow-growth, high-immigration economy.

The deal also uses a common gimmick where alleged savings in an entitlement program are used to boost unrelated spending in the federal bureaucracy.  Any savings found to entitlement programs faced with insolvency must be used to shore up those programs – not to surge spending somewhere else.  Yet this deal claims illusory savings from Disability Insurance and increased pension insurance fees in order to boost bureaucratic budgets.  Perhaps even worse, the deal attempts to stave off the shortfall in fraud-ridden Social Security Disability by plundering from the Social Security Trust Fund for retirees.

Finally, this deal cements the unacceptable precedent that every dollar of increased defense spending should be matched with a dollar of increased non-defense spending.  This is upside-down: if an emergency requires more defense spending, common sense says we should seek to identify reductions, not hikes, to non-defense spending.”