When the Budget Control Act of 2011 passed in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, then-House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan praised the bill as a “positive step forward in getting government spending under control.” In an official statement, Paul also said:
- “The Budget Control Act represents a victory to those committed to controlling government spending and growing our economy … The agreement, while far from perfect, underscores the extent to which the new House Majority has successfully changed Washington’s culture of spending.
- “No longer can Washington endlessly spend money it does not have.”
The Budget Control Act was designed to put caps on spending with a trigger for automatic across-the-board spending cuts (sequester) to be applied whenever the caps were exceeded. Still, the GOP has repeatedly passed legislation—usually when an election is approaching—to lift the caps without the consequences of the sequester, thus making it possible for Washington to do what Ryan claimed could no longer be done . . . spend money it doesn't have.
In fact, Ryan earned a spot in the Gutless On Principles Hall of Shame for the part he personally played in getting the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 passed—a bill that “temporarily” suspended the sequester in order to raise spending limits.
The GOP has displayed a shocking, yet typical, willingness to abandon fiscal responsibility since 2011—a habit so-called deficit hawk conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus now embrace. And with the self-proclaimed King of Debt now occupying the White House, current budget negotiations confirm that this trend will continue.
Despite the recent announcement that the government will borrow nearly $1 trillion this fiscal year—an 85 percent increase over last year and the most borrowed in 6 years—Paul Ryan and his cohort in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, are on the verge of once again lifting spending caps to get a deal done with the Democrats before the current temporary spending bill expires tomorrow.
If successful, the budget will be set for the next two years. Hey, that’s another election year. Coincidence?
In 2011, Paul Ryan stated that the GOP had changed Washington’s culture of spending, and in a way, he told the truth because there's an old saying that shows us the more things change, the more they stay the same; which means that when it comes to the federal budget, anytime the GOP tells you they have changed Washington, it means they will continue doing as they always have.