You would think that by now that congressional Republicans would have a solid track record of opposing Barack Obama’s left-wing agenda. After all, thanks to the landslide 2014 elections, Republicans hold more seats in Congress than they have since the 1920s. A good number of GOP congressmen are constitutional conservatives aligned with Tea Party values. What’s more, Harry Reid no longer controls the U.S. Senate and Nancy Pelosi is now the U.S. House minority leader.
Everything is in place for Republicans to prevent Obama from completing his promise of fundamentally transforming the United States of America. So how is it that a $1.1 trillion budget that gives Barack Obama nearly everything he wanted passed both houses of Congress last week by comfortable margins?
The answer to that question is leadership, or a lack thereof. In fact, the trillion-dollar budget just passed by Congress is an object lesson in why Americans cannot rely on the current cast of Republican leaders to head up an opposition party to Barack Obama or to any other Democratic president for that matter.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking the brunt of conservative outrage over his role in ratifying Obama’s agenda by way of last week’s budget deal. Every last bit of the criticism directed at Ryan is well deserved. This 2,024 page, trillion-dollar bill was stitched together in secret backroom deals and dropped in the dead of night on the rest of Congress barely two days before Congress fled Washington for the holidays. Democrats were gleeful, and they didn’t hesitate to rub it in:
“It was a good win. . .we met our goals.” – Barack Obama
"The Ryan budget deal “caps off a successful year for Senate Democrats.” – Harry Reid
“. . .they [Republicans] gave away the store.” – Nancy Pelosi
“This was an extraordinarily big victory.” – House Democrat deputy leader Steny Hoyer
Even a partial list of what House Speaker Ryan stuffed into the omnibus budget gives you a good idea of why these prominent liberals were so happy. There is 100% funding for. . .
Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal aliens,
Illegal alien sanctuary cities, and
Illegal alien tax credits.
The budget also quadruples the number of so-called H-2B visas to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor, leaves out any money to complete the U.S.-Mexico border fence Congress promised the American people nearly ten years ago and fails to stop Obama from importing tens of thousands more refugees from Muslim countries.
In other words, everything grassroots conservatives hate about the Obama agenda – and Republicans promised to end if elected – was delivered inside this omnibus budget.
Obama gratefully thanked Ryan, and why shouldn’t he? Nancy Pelosi could not have got a better deal. Yes, a Republican Speaker of the House delivered a budget that received more Democratic votes than Republican votes. But Paul Ryan couldn’t have done it alone.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it all possible months ago when he took a “government shutdown” off the table. In that moment, the Republican mandate for change evaporated. Months of hard work by grassroots conservatives to elect a GOP congressional majority in 2014 went out the window.
You see, nothing scares McConnell more than the possibility that the national media might blame the GOP for a budget impasse that shuts down the federal government. McConnell’s pledge erased the leverage that majority Senate Republicans hold over Democrats. It was a green light for Harry Reid to demand every important piece of Obama’s spending agenda with the unspoken threat that if McConnell didn’t knuckle under, Republicans would take the blame when the government ran out of money. McConnell never once called Reid’s bluff. That’s not leadership. That’s surrender.
Since taking control of the Senate, McConnell and his “leadership” team have allied with a majority of Democrats 24 different times to foil efforts to stop the Obama agenda. With every one of these 24 votes, the Republican-majority Senate successfully passed legislation supported by a majority of Democrats. Senator Chuck Schumer, vice-chairman of the Senate Democratic conference, summed up McConnell’s leadership failure well when he told the newspaper Politico last week, “Senator McConnell wants to see the Senate work. But the good news for [Democrats] is, to make it work, he has to do basically our agenda.” Not for nothing does U.S. Senator Ted Cruz call McConnell “the most effective Democratic leader in modern times.”
The Washington establishment couldn’t have asked for a better pair than Ryan and McConnell to do their bidding. Sure, every Republican congressman and senator who voted for this budget has much to answer for. But this massive victory for Big Government would not have been possible without Ryan and McConnell surrendering to liberal Democrats. The solution is obvious: the House and Senate need new leaders. And that’s not as hopeless as it might seem. A large number of reliable constitutional conservatives have won House and Senate elections since 2010. They are a good foundation to build on. The way to prevent a repeat of Paul Ryan’s trillion-dollar omnibus budget is for grassroots conservatives to redouble their efforts to elect even more genuine conservatives, starting with the 2016 election year. Only when the numbers are on their side will conservatives be able to install leaders who won’t sell them out.