With today’s contributor debut in The Hill, Jonathan Bydlak takes on a nagging issue for fiscal conservatives: What’s going on with spending policy?
Last week, congressional leaders dusted themselves off and began moving forward with a second attempt to repeal ObamaCare. It remains unclear whether a coalition can be cobbled together to pass a bill that pleases both moderates and conservatives, but if so, it will mark the first time the new administration presides over anything that impacts the most pressing national issues — spending and debt.
…By this time in 2009, then-President Obama had signed 12 bills into law, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ($663 billion), the 2009 Omnibus Act ($410 billion) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act ($73.8 billion), totaling roughly $1.1 trillion in spending. No doubt these bills represented the foundation of Democratic priorities at the time.
In contrast, President Trump has thus far signed a grand total of…one bill with significant spending implications — the reauthorization of NASA. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has opted to score only only two of the laws enacted this session. Officially naming clinics in Center Township, Pennsylvania and Pago Pago, American Samoa may be worthy efforts, but they hardly represent a heavy lift.
And while the House has voted on eight bills with spending implications, the Senate has yet to address a single one. Are we living in a post-fiscal world? Not quite.