An Unfathomable Budgetary Monster Is Rising from the Depths of Congress | Citizens Against Government Waste

An Unfathomable Budgetary Monster Is Rising from the Depths of Congress

The WasteWatcher

Paraphrasing Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let us count the ways that the Democrats in Congress are destroying the economy, bankrupting the country, and moving the U.S. closer to becoming a socialist nation.  The proximate cause of these calamities is the House committees that are meeting to markup the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. 

The Agriculture Committee rejected efforts by Republicans to cut spending for new programs like the $2.5 billion Civilian Climate Corps, for which Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) the August Porker of the Month.  Other amendments rejected by the committee included Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ (R-Tenn.) effort to reduce spending by two-thirds.  Committee Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.) reported the bill without any details of the $28 billion conservation provision since the Congressional Budget Office did not provide a final estimate of the cost.  The speed and lack of hearings related to the bill was noted by Rep. Dusty Johnson, (R-S.D.), who contrasted the more than $90 billion in new spending with the 2018 Farm Bill, for which the committee held nearly 100 hearings and voted to move the bill forward on a bipartisan basis.  The Education and Labor Committee also rejected every Republican amendment that would have reduced or eliminated new spending, including means testing for eligibility for free community college, returning the remaining value of a Pell Grant if the student does not finish college, and limiting the amount of debt a student can accrue to obtain their degree. 

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) wrote letters on September 8, 2021, to the House Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee that reiterate what CCAGW has said for some time.  Including the price controls in H.R. 3 in the reconciliation bill will hurt innovation and cause fewer new drugs to be researched and developed. 

In response to the proposed $2.9 trillion Ways and Means Committee tax bill, CCAGW joined 126 taxpayer groups, individuals, and state legislators on a coalition letter on September 9, 2021, that objected to numerous provisions that might be included in the final legislation, including raising the corporate tax rate, increasing the capital gains tax, increasing the tax on carried interest capital gains, creating a second death tax by eliminating the step-up in basis, and including provisions of H.R. 3 that would impose a 95 percent tax on pharmaceuticals.  On September 15, 2021, CCAGW will launch a digital ad campaign opposing the unnecessary and harmful carried interest tax.  The ad “cites rising prices, labor shortages, and a new strain of COVID-19, with the economy ‘hanging in the balance,’ then asks why members of Congress would try ‘to make things worse with a new investment tax on small business?’” It concludes that, “This new, job-killing tax would devastate workers, Main Street businesses, and retirees.  An economic poison pill brought to you by socialist Democrats … when we can least afford it.”

CCAGW continued its assault on this outrageous tax and spending bill in a September 10, 2021, blog post that cited some of the reasons why President Biden’s pledge that no one making under $400,000 would see an increase in taxes is a complete falsehood:  “If this bill should become law, all taxpayers will pay for this monstrosity in some fashion, through higher inflation (which is already occurring) higher energy costs (which are regressive and harm low-income families more than others), and higher costs for all goods (a result of passing through some of the higher taxes paid by corporations).”

Commonsense budgets are a thing of the past, as Congress engages in a spending free-fall to include every favorite pet project imaginable, while imposing new taxes, rate settings, and decreased services for necessities.  But it could be worse.  Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has said he has already compromised, since he originally wanted to spend $6 trillion.  And as an example of how congressional leaders abuse their privileges and get whatever they want in bills like reconciliation, which only require a majority vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is adding $200 million for the Presidio Park, which says on its website that it operates “at no cost to taxpayers.”

To date, only one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), has suggested that Congress is spending too much.  He wrote in a September 2, 2021 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that “Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation.”  He is partly correct.  A pause is valid but insufficient. 

CCAGW will continue to fight on behalf of its more than one million members and supporters and all taxpayers to defeat this monstrous package so the U.S. will not head toward bankruptcy and move closer to becoming a socialist country.


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