President Trump signed into law the omnibus 2018 federal budget. It has a $1.3 trillion price tag and is projected to increased the federal deficit by $440 billion by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). I suppose this is a bargain when you consider that the federal deficit is already over $21 trillion. This is the largest budget in history and is shamefully taking place in a Republican Congress and White House. I don’t blame the President; he was placed in a “no win” situation by a disgraceful Congress. Senator Chuck Schumer gleefully stated the Dems received more for their programs while being the minority party than when they were the majority party. While spending for the military increased by some $66 billion (including a 2.4% pay increase) for a total of $700 billion, domestic spending increased by nearly as much ($52 billion). There were no cuts to Planned Parenthood or to Sanctuary Cities where politicians openly disregard federal laws and interfere with federal law enforcement officers. Included was $1.6 billion for a “see through” barrier on the southern border but nothing was done regarding the DACA (or dreamers) issue. It was totally irresponsible for Congress to place a 2300 page budget bill on the President’s desk with hours to spare before a government shutdown. The President was faced with signing a bill that contained funding opposed by the President or vetoing it. If he had vetoed the bill there would have been a record third government shutdown in as many months. Either choice was fraught with harsh criticism from members of his own party on the one hand or (predictably) criticism by the media on the other hand. The President’s desire to restore military strength and boost service members pay forced him to pick the lesser of two evils.
The real loser in this latest fiasco is Congress. The only time members of Congress are capable of accomplishing something is when they are under a deadline. There had been three previous continuing resolutions that progressively “starved” military readiness and morale. Congress only hammered out a budget under the pressure of another impending deadline. The final product was only completed with two days to spare. It is likely no one was able to read the entire bill before being asked to vote on it. As is typical for Congress the bill included “pork” including federal funding for a tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York in Chuck Schumer’s district. Term limits is the only way to change the way Washington operates. We will never drain the swamp unless we can rid the environment of its most destructive and self-serving creatures.