The conservative Virginia congressman who unseated Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary, told Breitbart News Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) failed to keep one of his most important commitments to the House Republican Conference when he refused to restore Regular Order to the budget process.
“Paul Ryan promised Regular Order as one of his major promises upon becoming speaker,” said Rep.David Brat (R.-Va.). Brat is a former chairman of the economic department at Randolph-Macon College. He earned his PhD in economics at American University. In addition to his career in academia, he worked with the World Bank and was appointed to an economic advisory board by then-Virginia governor Timothy Kaine, who is now running as the Democratic nominee for vice-president.
With less that three weeks left in the fiscal year, Brat said nobody has any idea what it going on in regards to the budget.
“Where is the budget right now?” he asked. “I am being cynical asking the question. It is somewhere between the Rules Committee and leadership–the point is it is not in the Budget Committee. There has not been a floor vote, so we are abdicating our responsibility–there is no discipline.”
Brat, who sits on the House Budget Committee, said, “Regular Order sounds boring, but its hugely important, it means the budget stays in the Budget Committee–only–which is accountable to the American people, which then takes it to a floor vote.”
Regular Order is the formal process of passing legislation through the House of Representatives, where bills are passed by the appropriate committee and presented to the House Rules Committee for a rule governing the floor vote and floor debate. Once the Rules Committee approves a “rule” for the bill, it is scheduled for debate and a vote. Typically, the debate on the floor is in the framework of the Committee of the Whole House, which means that for that debate and vote, the committee that passed the bill is enlarged to include all House members, who then participate within the context of the original committee with the committee chairman and ranking member of the minority acting as floor managers through the final vote.
In the case of the federal budget, there are 12 individual appropriation bills that are passed separately, but all must be inside the parameters established by the budget.
Since the Republicans regained control of the House in the 2010 midterms, the GOP leadership has been either unwilling or unable to pass all the appropriation bills in any of the subsequent fiscal years, and the budget process has been resolved through a patchwork of omnibus funding bills or continuing resolutions, which carry on the government with the previously approved spending numbers.
For Capitol Hill conservatives, the irregular order means that riders passed in committee and other priorities are jettisoned when GOP leaders negotiate their all-in-one bills with the White House. When the 2016 funding was resolved, conservative riders, such as restrictions on funding Planned Parenthood, Sanctuary Cities, and President Barack Obama’s program to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country were pulled off the must-pass budget bill and placed on a separate bill that never went to the president’s desk.
Brat said when the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed Dec. 18, Ryan told Republicans that it was a “crap sandwich,” but they had to eat it.
The new spending bill cannot be any better, he said. “No matter what, it’s going to be a crap sandwich with extra serving.”
It is a strange position to be in considering that the Republican Party actually controls both the House and the Senate.
The economics professor said he accepts that there is going to be a new continuing resolution, so the real question is whether it is a short one that carries the government through the election and into the lame duck session.
Or will it be a significant one that carries the government into March and the new president’s term, which Brat and other Capitol Hill conservatives support?