by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump and congressional leaders are nearing a deal that would raise the discretionary-spending caps by $320 billion over two years and offset less than one-quarter of those costs (and even those offsets would take a decade to materialize). The budget deal would essentially repeal the final two years of the 2011 Budget Control Act and raise the baseline for future discretionary spending by nearly $2 trillion over the decade.
This represents a fitting conclusion of the Budget Control Act — the crown jewel of the 2011 “tea-party Congress.” The decade-long shredding of these hard-fought budget constraints mirrors the shredding of Republican credibility on fiscal responsibility. …
… The deficit-obsessed Republicans expressed a willingness to risk defaulting on national-debt interest payments in order to force spending cuts. And after months of intense negotiations, the two parties agreed to the Budget Control Act, which would cap discretionary spending through 2021 at much lower levels than the baseline, saving $2.1 trillion over that period.
Unfortunately, this victory — which seemed like it would be the first of many — proved to be the apex of the tea-party movement. Without the leverage of the debt limit, President Obama and Senate Democrats could easily block House Republican spending reforms. The 2012 reelection of President Obama then cost the tea-party GOP some of the momentum that it acquired two years earlier.
By 2013, even congressional Republicans were beginning to complain about the tight discretionary-spending limits brought on by the Budget Control Act.