Democrats Outraged as, God Forbid, Speaker Mike Johnson Tries to Limit Spending Bills to a Single Issue

Watching the outrage from Democrats (and the muted anger of some Republicans) over newly-appointed House Speaker Mike Johnson’s approach to spending is quite something. One gets the sense that responsible fiscal governance was never really on their agenda. But it is certainly on his.

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So, in insisting that aid to Israel – a check to an ally – is actually covered, he offset the spending with cuts to the IRS. Keep in mind that he’s not taking funding they’ve been using for years, but he is cutting new spending that was being sent their way via the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.” This has confounded and outraged the “This Isn’t How We Do Things” crowd in Washington D.C., and they are struggling to come up with a coherent message.

Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News simultaneously questions Johnson’s strategy and yet explains the problem with D.C. perfectly.

“Had he not offset the $14B bill, he probably would’ve passed it with 350-400 votes and jammed the Senate,” he said. “Johnson could’ve made law in his first week.That would’ve pushed Senate Rs to try craft a Ukraine/border bill — which has been the party’s preference now for months.”

Where he, and the conventional wisdom and powers that be crowd, are confused as to why he isn’t doing something that everyone likes. 

“But instead, Sherman says, “the Dems going to provide single-digit votes in the House (most likely), Senate will likely ignore. And it’s pushing senators to now consider a massive Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan bill which will have zero offsets.”

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I’m sorry, but in what world is it a bad idea that if you give money to someone you make sure you have the money to do so? Is it Speaker Johnson’s fault that the other degenerate spenders in government want to spend recklessly? It is most assuredly his fault that we are trying something new, but new is not necessarily bad. Especially in this case.

Axios, likewise, is perplexed.

Why it matters: The emergency Israel funding will need bipartisan support to become law — as will bills to support Ukraine and Taiwan, shore up border security and avert a government shutdown.

Driving the news: The supplemental appropriations package would offset $14.3 billion in military assistance to Israel by rescinding an equal amount in IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • The rescission adds to Democratic frustration over Johnson’s decision to try to pass Israel aid as a standalone bill, rather than tying it to Ukraine and Taiwan aid and border security funding.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters it would make the bill “much harder to pass” in the Senate.

And, I kid you not, they really and truly believe that the decision to cut that money from the IRS is actually going to cost us more.

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Zoom in: Raising Democrats’ ire even further is the fact that the rescission would cut against Republicans’ stated goal of saving as much money as they spend by dampening tax collection enforcement and thus diminishing federal revenue.

  • “They are preventing the government from holding wealthy tax cheats accountable and adding to the deficit,” Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Axios in a statement.
  • The IRS funding has long been a GOP boogeyman, with Republicans voting to rescind it just days after taking power in the House in January.

Apparently, this is all partisan maneuvering by Johnson and not fiscal responsibility, which is odd because Mitch McConnell is just as irritated by Johnson’s decision as the Democrats are.

That’s a clear sign that McConnell would have to be strong-armed into whipping votes for it because it doesn’t have all the things he wants in it. God forbid we stick focus on one issue per bill and make sure that all the money we’re spending actually exists and we’re not taking on more debt to do it. What a crime on Johnson’s part.

And let’s not pretend the Democrats are honest brokers in all this. A month ago, a Republican Speaker pushed through a massive spending bill instead of appropriating the money properly, and he did so with Democratic votes. One angry Republican then got a few friends and the entire Democratic caucus to join in and overthrow that Speaker. The Democrats are the reason that spending is coming down to the wire, and because they helped overthrow Kevin McCarthy, they ended up with a far more conservative Speaker at the helm of the chamber. 

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They are mad that they screwed up so badly. They would be getting everything they wanted if McCarthy were in charge. But they helped get rid of him. They sowed, and now they reap, and they do not like it one bit. Meanwhile, it sounds like Johnson will stay the course and make the Democrats come to the table if they want anything funded.

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