You may remember in May when Congress passed and President Trump signed an omnibus spending bill which garnered over 170 Democrat votes in the House and over 40 Democrat votes in the Senate. What does this mean? It means that the 2017 spending bill was a Democrat bill despite the fact that Republicans hold a majority the House and Senate. The most unfortunate part of this is that none of President Trump’s campaign promises were funded in this bill.
Recently, I blogged about how Mitch McConnell is allowing a rule in the Senate to keep Republicans from passing any meaningful legislation. House Speaker Paul Ryan is doing his fair share to disrupt President Trump’s agenda also.
An article in the Washington Times noted that:
“House Republicans say they’re already behind on this year’s budget and spending bills, raising the chances of a major year-end crush and the kind of massive omnibus bill that’s left the GOP steaming in recent congresses. Budget-writers in the House did say Wednesday there’s a tentative framework to start putting together a formal 2018 budget blueprint — two months behind schedule” (Emphasis mine).
If Congress is two months behind schedule for the FY18 budget, which is due by September 30, what exactly have they been doing?
In 2015 Paul Ryan gave his acceptance speech for the speakership in which he said, "We need to let every member contribute, not once they earn their stripes, but now, the committees should take the lead in drafting all major legislation: If you know the issue, you should write the bill. Let's open up the process. In other words, we need to return to regular order" (Emphasis mine). Regular order means that instead of passing one spending bill at the last minute in order to avert a government shutdown, Congress should pass twelve spending bills that each fund separate parts of the government. This would allow for more inspection and debate of what exactly is in these bills. Speaker Ryan has failed to return Congress to regular order even after two years in his position.
Some folks blame Conservatives for the failure to agree on budget legislation. Others blame the moderates. But I blame the Speaker of the House. Speaker Ryan can hold each appropriation committee responsible for not sending a spending bill to the floor for a vote. Congress continues to fail in passing appropriation bills because Speaker Ryan has not prioritized this.
Republicans have given Paul Ryan two years to improve the way Congress functions and for the most part, nothing has changed. The House Speaker can’t fix everything but at a minimum he can demand that Congress return to the regular appropriation process. The American people are tired of our representatives waiting two weeks before a budget deadline to begin discussing what is in the budget. This ineffective process only ensures the swamp in Washington, D.C. continues to fill at a status quo rate. Article I, section 9, clause 7 of the Constitution states, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” As we sit today, Congress has failed to follow the appropriation process and is in effect out of step with the U.S. Constitution. American families deserve a Congress that functions as the Constitution outlines.