President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress were elected to drain the swamp, not add water.
But adding water, and lots of it, is exactly what happened with the passage of the most recent budget deal.
Not only is the deal $117 billion more than Trump asked for, it’s 70 percent more than President Barack Obama asked for.
Let that sink in.
Congress has always had a hard time controlling its appetite for spending. That, along with mounting pressure from the tea party movement, is why it passed the Budget Control Act back in 2011.
That legislation was supposed to force lawmakers to curb government spending and control the growth of federal programs. But the ink on that legislation was barely dry before the Obama administration and Congress were finding ways to get around it.
In 2013, Congress blew the caps on spending by $64 billion.
In 2015, they did so by $80 billion.
But that is nothing compared to this year where Congress just voted to blow the budget caps by $296 billion.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, means the swamp, also known as the government, just grew by 14 percent.
That’s because most of that new spending is not being offset or paid for via reductions or cuts in other areas. And even where that is happening, it’s mostly via budget gimmicks, not real savings.
Let’s just say things seem to be going in the wrong direction.
The excuse before was Democrats controlled the White House. The excuse today is that Republicans don’t have 60 votes in the Senate.
Here’s the reality: A Congress and White House controlled by Republicans agreed to a budget deal that Obama could only have dreamed of.
And it’s not true that there were no other options. The world’s greatest deliberative body pursued one strategy and one strategy only—give both sides everything they want. That’s not practicing the art of the deal, that’s feeding at the taxpayer trough.
There were other legislative vehicles, from continuing resolutions to overseas contingency funds, that could have been used to get our military the funding it needed without trading away so much in more spending on big government domestic programs, emergency slush funds, and crony tax subsidies—yes, there were some of those in there too.
You know, no one, not even hardcore budget hawks, expected a balanced budget. But those of us who voted for draining the swamp and some semblance of financial sanity did expect better than this.