March 28, 2011 | Commentary on Budget and Spending, Deficits

Will Republicans Stand Up and Fight?

The next few weeks will be “make or break” for conservatives. Yet the Republican Party seems willing to concede, compromise and cooperate with our liberal President in an effort to put off a fight on spending.

President Obama has yet to propose a solution to the spending impasses for the year. But congressional Republicans keep bailing him out with continuing resolutions.

While the President has fallen flat on his face in the leadership department, it seems like congressional Republicans keep picking him up, dusting him off and sending him on his merry way. Will they propose some real cuts to spending, or hide behind the talking point that they don’t control the Senate?

ObamaCare Waivers for Liberals

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D.-N.Y.) became another supporter of ObamaCare to beg for an exemption for his district. Rep. Weiner spoke at the left-wing Center for American Progress and argued last week that New York City may need an exemption from the draconian law. Do liberals want the President’s healthcare reform to apply only to its opponents?

Lack of Clear Direction on Libya

President Obama ordered military strikes in Libya last week while off in South and Central America for trade talks. He didn’t fully consult with Congress before doing so, and he has yet to explain to the American people what the mission is in Libya.
Will Republicans fight to force the President to show some respect to Congress and the American people, or will they cower?

There is a conservative split in Congress on whether the President is right or wrong in Libya. House Speaker John Boehner sent a letter to Obama last week saying that “I respect your authority as Commander-in-Chief and support our troops as they carry out their mission. But I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission.”

Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) endorsed the President’s military strikes and a no-fly zone over Libya. Even the President’s supporters must be concerned that he seems more intent on consulting the United Nations and the Arab League than Congress and the American people.

Continuing Resolution Earmarks

According to USA Today, Congress has allowed $4.8 billion in earmarks to remain in the last two resolutions to keep the government funded for the remainder of the year. Although they have cut $5.3 billion in earmarks, they still have protected billions in earmarks in the budget. This is at a time when Republicans in the House and Senate have sworn off earmarks.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) recently filed an amendment to strike all of these earmarks, yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has blocked Coburn’s efforts to force a vote on the issue. If Congress can’t even cut earmarks out of the rest of this year’s spending, conservatives should have no confidence that the next two years will make them happy.

Rand Paul’s Budget

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has submitted a budget that is in balance. Tea Party Senators Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R.-Utah) have joined Paul in a plan that, he says, cuts almost $4 trillion from President Obama’s levels.

According to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.) of the Budget Committee, President Obama’s budget creates $8.7 trillion in new spending, $1.6 trillion in new taxes and adds $13 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years. The President’s budget never will balance. It increases government.

Sen. Paul’s budget eliminates the Departments of Commerce, Education, HUD and Energy. “The only way we can balance the budget is if we have real leadership,” he said, “and the president has abdicated his leadership on this issue.” Paul balances the budget in five years.

Brian Darling is director of Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

First appeared in Human Events