Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview how his new legislation would prevent government shutdowns and avoid the partisan brinkmanship over federal spending battles.
Congressman Brooks unveiled H.R. 5313, a bill that would continue to fund the government at last year’s spending levels in the event of a government funding lapse to avoid government shutdown fights that end up raising government spending.
Rep. Brooks explained to Breitbart News, “Whatever spending was for the previous year, the various agencies continue at the same exact spending level. No increase, no cut, and as an aside if you have a set spending amount then government decreases over the long run.”
The Alabama conservative continued, “The second thing it does is prevent the special interest groups from adding bad provisions to the legislation or else face a government shutdown threat. The government shutdown threat is the last card played by the powers that be to force legislators into voting for bad legislation that they otherwise would not vote for because no one likes a shutdown.”
“It’s these massive spending increases that increase our massive bankruptcy risk,” Brooks added, contended that the recent spending battles raised the national debt to new heights.
Congressional leadership has yet to unveil its omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government ahead of the March 23 deadline. Reports suggest that the leadership could release the bill as early as Sunday or Monday. However, conservatives remain more skeptical of that timeline.
Congressional leadership passed a two-year, $300 billion, 652-page budget under in 18 hours, much to the dismay of conservatives.
It’s a “Christmas tree on steroids,” Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) said in February, suggesting that the spending bill is full of pork barrel spending.
Sen. Paul asked, “Are we to be conservative all the time or only when we’re in the minority?”
Republicans remain unable to pass a government funding bill by themselves because they need nine Democrats in the Senate to vote for a government spending bill; this often forces Republicans to cut deals with the Democrats that jack up government spending.
Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA), another member of the House Freedom Caucus, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview how the Democrats used the 60 vote threshold in the Senate to dramatically raise spending.
Brat said, “We had a Republican call to plus up the military and keep everything else constant in the Senate and to get the Democrat votes to plus up $400 billion.”
“I haven’t seen any ideas on cost containment from the Democrats at all,” Brat added.
Brooks warned that our national debt has skyrocketed in recent years to untenable levels.
“This year, we’re looking at a deficit of $750 to $1 trillion. Next year, the estimate is $1 trillion or more. I have to wonder if there is any way that we can avoid a national insolvency or bankruptcy.”
Four conservatives, including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), cosponsored Brooks’ legislation to end the government shutdown and the subsequent spending showdown that spikes the nation’s debt.
Brooks then told Breitbart News that the bill would minimize the power of Republicans and Democrats to jack up spending during a government shutdown fight.
Congressman Brooks said, “It would minimize the power of Democrats for their shutdown power plays to force bad policy, but that’s no different than what Republicans do on a regular basis too.”
Rep. Brooks continued, “Government shutdowns hurt the party that is in power. Short-term spending bills hurt the party that is in power. It suggests that the party does not know how to govern and does not deserve to govern.”
Brat then told Breitbart News why believes the bill will rein in government spending.
Brat said, “It’s easy, Mo Brooks has a piece I agree with, you just got to end the shutdown procedure, and all you have to do is just reversion to last year’s budget. If there’s a ‘shutdown’ then you just revert to last year’s numbers. Then you make sure that the budget goes in a downward direction instead of a crisis mode were we jack up the numbers.”
The Virginia Republican then suggested that although fellow lawmakers have praised the bill, many members have also made empty promises about balanced budget amendments and term limits.
“Everybody is for it just like everyone is for a balanced budget amendment and term limits,” Brat told Breitbart News. “Everyone is for it, but we’ll see how many people vote for it.”
Congressman Brat then suggested that switching to a simple majority in the Senate would make it easier to pass an appropriations bill to fund the government. However, he added that the Senate does not like to take hard votes.
Brat charged, “Senators have to get re-elected every six years, and they can’t take a hard vote once every six years. We all want to change the Senate bills, even if it’s just on appropriations bills, to just a majority rule. Then you don’t run into these crises every year.”
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Breitbart News Daily on Wednesday that she would like the Senate to switch to a simple majority vote to fund the government.
Blackburn told Breitbart News Daily:
For issues of funding your constitutionally required to fund the government, it should be majority rule.If they want to have to have their 60 vote rule, which I think is ridiculous, apply that only to the legislative calendar; not the executive calendar or funding, which you have to do for the American people.
Brat concluded, “You know what’s going to happen [with the omnibus] and it’s going to be filled with everything that senators want because they have a majority of one. They can oppose and block the country’s progress, and we got to end that system.”