by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is about what you’d expect from an agreement between a Democratic president and congressional Republicans who narrowly control only one chamber of Congress — maybe better than what you’d expect given the potential fractiousness of the GOP majority.
It seemed possible that McCarthy wouldn’t be able to unite his caucus to pass anything and Republicans would get forced into eating a clean increase or, worse, the party would stumble into getting blamed for whatever chaos that would have come from passing the deadline for an extension. …
… [A]s a means of addressing the ongoing fiscal incontinence of the federal government, and other deficiencies in how Washington operates, the deal is obviously inadequate.
The provisions in the GOP bill to overturn Biden’s lawless student-debt “forgiveness,” to enshrine the REINS Act reform of the regulatory state, and to repeal the Biden energy tax credits were all worthy, but Republicans never had enough leverage to force these large-scale changes on the White House.
There may be less than meets the eye even in some of the limited victories in the deal. …
… The outrage shouldn’t be that Republicans fail to get more of what they want from fiscal Hail Mary passes around debt-limit increases and end-of-year spending bills, but that they haven’t done more to put spending on a different trajectory when they have had unified control of Washington. Donald Trump has harangued House Republicans to force a default to get everything they want yet was happy to maintain elevated levels of deficit spending when he was president, even prior to Covid.
Republicans need to keep making the case for a longer-term agenda of fiscal sanity. That should include, among other things, reforming entitlements, vouchering and reducing K–12 educational funding, and reforming student loans, especially making fewer loans to graduate students.