Make Spending Bills 500 Pages, Tops
Congressman Chip Roy has a terrific op-ed in The Federalist about everything that is wrong with the massive spending bill President Trump signed last night. I highly recommend it.
I am well aware that the President red-lined a lot of what was wrong with the bill. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether these "rescissions" will work. The President's statement is here:
This year's bill probably stings the most because the President's own Treasury secretary was, by all accounts, involved in the negotiations. The bill was largely written by Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Steve Mnuchin, a small handful of congressional committee chairs, and their staffs. That's it.
Congress has figured out how to keep their gravy trains running on time and they've perfected it over the last ten years or so. It follows this sort of model:
Fake like you hate each other all year long. There is fake hate between Republicans and Democrats. There is also fake hate between conservatives and Republicans or uber-liberals and Democrats. The goal here: Keep the Washington Press corp entertained, and therefore, keep the clicks and the donations coming.
The staffs will (very) quietly work with each other to get the massive bill written, while their bosses fake hate each other in the press. This goes on all year long. It's not a conspiracy; in fact, it's just the opposite. Everyone in town knows how this game is played. Every lobbyist in the city is engaged at this phase. Whatever the issue, whether it is funding for shrimp cocaine research or funding for gender studies in Pakistan, whatever the case may be, the funding portion was usually drafted by a lobbyist, and submitted to Leadership for inclusion. Sometimes it is a direct submission. Other times it is indirect through another Member. Doesn't really matter which path it takes, as the result is the same.
Stuff all of these appropriations into one massive bill to be voted on at Christmas. Congress really does love spending at Christmas. The attention span is short. Everyone wants out of town. It's designed to force the President's signature and it works every time.
Another way to force the signature? Tie all of the grotesque funding to the military's funding OR in this case, they added another cherry on top: Covid money.
Remember in late 2018 when the President reluctantly signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill and declared: "I will never sign a bill like this again?" This last bill that he signed is at least a trillion dollars more than the one in 2018. Oye.
How do we stop this seemingly endless cycle, year after year, of disgustingly massive Christmas spending bills? Changing the parties in power doesn't seem to work. I'm not sure changing the Leadership of these parties would work either. It sounds good on paper, but the system underneath it all still exists and thrives. Putting our faith in President Trump to change this system, unfortunately, did not yield good enough results.
If I were the President, I would begin at the State of the Union, where I have a huge stage from which to launch the following grassroots effort: I would tell a joint session of Congress, and a nationally televised audience, that I will not sign a spending bill that's over 500 pages in length. Period, end of story, no exceptions. I'd turn around and look Nancy in the eyes and I'd tell her that she must work with everyone in this room to achieve that goal. I'd turn forward again and do the same with Mitch McConnell.
From there I'm barnstorming the country, through appearances and press, to galvanize public opinion to my side. As President, I'm willing to take under advisement anything our Congress sends to me, but 500 pages is my limit. Anything more than that and history has proven that bad things happen. A 500 page limit would also force Congress to work on smaller measures together, creating more of a true representative bipartisan environment. It would also give me the President the opportunity to veto some things rather be forced into an all-or-nothing forced signing.
As activists, we need to demand this process change from those we choose to represent us. We need to make our world smaller. It's our money after all. This annual bill was over 2,000 pages just two years ago, and now it's over 5,500 pages. A 500 page limit on spending bills is a high-ground argument we all can agree to. If we want Congress to truly represent us again, we're going to have to force them to adopt this limit. Enough is enough.