“We buckled,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) of congressional Republicans’ negotiations on Capitol Hill regarding a $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill scheduled for a vote on Wednesday night.
Congressman Brat joined SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight for an interview with co-hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak moments before entering the House to cast his vote.
Mansour asked if the Gateway Project — a massive tunnel, bridge, and infrastructure expansion and renovation project encompassing Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor passenger rail service linking Newark, NJ, and New York City, NY, which is estimated to cost approximately $30 billion by federal authorities — had been prioritized over a southern border wall. “Is it true that Chuck Schumer got his tunnel, but we got a pittance for the wall?”
“Yeah,” replied Brat. “So far, unfortunately, I have to report that’s the case. So the wall, at the last minute, we’re kind of playing little language games. At the last minute, politically, they’ll rename some of that. The $30 billion tunnel will get renamed probably at the last minute, but we’re not getting twenty or thirty billion for the Trump wall, which he ran on, which the American people clearly voted for – some form of border security – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
Brat warned that Republican acquiescence to Democrat spending priorities will usher in financial catastrophe via increased interest rates on the federal government’s debt.
“The Republican House actually did pretty good work all year, and the Freedom Caucus went along on the basic budget,” said Brat. “The promise was that we’re going to stay with Republican votes the whole way — 218 votes — and you get a win. At the end of the day, usually it happens before Christmas, we call it ‘lighting up the Christmas tree,’ every spending object under the sun gets thrown in, and this year, that’s what’s happening, right now. We need nine Democrat Senators to win, so we buckled. We need to hold firm. Our leadership needs to tell the Republican senators and the Democrats, ‘We’ll compromise a little. You get a little.’ But we’re not getting a little. We have a $1.3 trillion budget just on the discretionary side. The total budget is like $4 trillion, and we have trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and we’re getting ready to surpass $21 trillion in debt. It’s just a matter a time before the bond market recoils. The bond market will send a signal eventually, like in Greece and Europe; and when that happens, it’s not going to be pleasant. It’s going to make the 2008 financial crisis look like chump change.”
Brat cautioned against the status quo of increasing the federal government’s spending and debt.
“On top of that, all of this is on the kids. The kids don’t have any lobbyists up here,” stated Brat. “Everyone’s concerned about the kids, except they’re not. We’re putting all this on the kids’ credit card, and then the unfunded liabilities — Medicare, Social Security, interest on the debt, et cetera, the mandatory payments we have to make — that’s three fourths of the budget; that’s $3 trillion; it never gets mentioned. That’s the bulk of the budget, and all of those programs are insolvent, upside-down, bankrupt in 2034. The kids will not have the programs they assume they will have. So it’s intergenerational theft of the first magnitude. It’s immoral. It’s unethical, and we have to make a change, and President Trump is not getting his win that he ran on. So I’m hoping that he will throw a veto, until we get rid of sanctuary cities and we get some funding for border control. … No, we’re not getting a fair deal.”
Pollak invited Brat to respond to a Wednesday-released statement from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) highlighting what the minority leader describes as a Democrat victory over language in the proposed omnibus bill related to border wall funding. It reads:
Democrats won explicit language restricting border construction to the same see-through fencing that was already authorized under current law. The bill does not allow any increase in deportation officers or detention beds. We are disappointed that we did not reach agreement on Dreamer protections that were worthy of these patriotic young people. We will continue to ask the Speaker to give us a vote to protect Dreamers and honor our values.
“I think it’s worse than that,” answered Brat. “They’re starting to say that you can use some money in the military budget in existing funds for the wall. If that’s the case, why couldn’t we do that for the previous year, so this is all news to me. … There is no Democrat I know that has proposed any spending constraints.”
Mansour again asked about the omnibus bill’s priorities.
“I’m seeing this bill, you had mentioned there’s nothing to defund Planned Parenthood,” remarked Mansour. “There’s nothing in there that would target the sanctuary city policies and allow President Trump to defund them because they’re bucking federal law. They basically give President Trump $641 million for 33 miles of fencing, not a concrete wall, just fencing. And yet also in this omnibus bill I see that we have $687 million in new funding to secure U.S. elections against Russians. I’m all for securing elections, but we get more money for that than the border wall?”
Brat noted how abortion-provider Planned Parenthood — which, according to its latest annual report, receives its largest source of revenue from American taxpayers — spends money on political advertising hostile to Republicans.
“Just so people know, Planned Parenthood, the funding they receive — you can use it for anything, right? — they use it to run ads against Republicans,” Brat said. “So we’re funding with taxpayer dollars an organization that uses taxpayer dollars to run ads against Republicans. So why would Republicans vote and approve that language that puts the fight against us?”
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund produces overtly partisan political content and advertising.
“When it comes to negotiation time, Democrats have no problem getting $30 billion [for the Gateway Project], but we can’t get that for the major election issue [like the southern border wall],” lamented Brat.
Brat observed that when Democrats embraced “identity politics,” they abandoned the concern they once expressed for the declining wages of American workers.
“The Democrats are very silent on that issue [of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities], by the way,” assessed Brat. “On illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, you don’t see Democrats across the country messaging on that issue because it’s a loser. The American people know something is very wrong, and what’s wrong is, the average American worker’s wages have been flat for thirty to forty years. Bernie Sanders and President Trump both ran on that. The Democrats used to always run on that. Barbara Jordan ran on that. Bill Clinton did a state of the union on that. Dick Durbin ran on that. Schumer and Pelosi ran on that. Everybody ran on raising American workers’ wages until what happened? Until they went into identity politics. So hopefully that American people are catching on. The identity politics which is created to divide Americans instead of bringing us together, the Democrats said they wanted new rhetoric and they want to bring us to together, I don’t think so. The Republicans believe in the rule of law, equal for everybody. We want to lift up everybody.”
“What did the Republicans get in exchange for this deal, the omnibus?” asked Mansour. “It seems like the Democrats got a better deal. We gave Republicans control of the House, Senate, and the White House. We gave them the reins on everything, and yet the Democrats are spiking the football and doing a happy dance in the end zone. What did we get?”
Brat framed Republicans as principled by prioritizing military funding while accepting certain Democrat funding priorities.
“The Republicans are principled, and so what we got is what the United States needs,” explained Brat. “We plussed up defense. That was the deal we had in the House. We ‘re gonna plus up defense and not plus up anything else. So the House Freedom Caucus went with that deal. … So we compromised and we said, ‘If we get to hold together as a team, 218 votes, and we get to plus up defense, they need it.’ There are all sorts of catastrophes across the world right now, the evidence is in. We’re not keeping up, we’re not training our folks. Our planes [and] our ships are in disrepair. We got to do better, so we’re doing that, and the Democrats want that too. So we do what’s right for the country, for our national defense, but the Democrats in order to get that, what do we have to do? We had to plus up the budget by $400 billion, about a half a trillion dollars.”
“[Democrats] are not in favor of any fiscal restraint,” said Brat. “If you want to end up like Europe with subpar growth, and not American Exceptionalism, then that’s the Democratic pattern, and we’ve got to do better than that.”
Asked by Mansour how he would vote on the omnibus bill, Brat said, “I’m a ‘no’ just on the number.”
“[Kids are] the only group that doesn’t have a lobbyist in D.C.,” concluded Brat. “Everybody else has a lobbyist except the kids. We’re putting all the debt on the kids. … We’ve got to fix that or the nation goes bankrupt.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.