No More Budget Behemonths!
Posted on 03.23.18 by Danny Glover @ 5:58 pm

President Donald Trump reached his fiscal breaking point today when Congress sent him a $1.3 trillion spending bill only hours after passing it — and without lawmakers having had time to read the 2,200-page bill before they voted on it.

Earlier in the day, Trump suggested by tweet that he might veto the bill. Then after reluctantly agreeing to sign it, he warned Congress, “I will never sign another bill like this again.”

As a nation, we’ve been here before. Thirty years, ago, President Ronald Reagan threw down the budgetary gauntlet in his last State of the Union address to Congress. Trump’s confrontation came after two government shutdowns since January and the potential for a third. Reagan’s came during another era of broken budgets.

Here’s an excerpt of his speech:

It’s also time for some plain talk about the most immediate obstacle to controlling federal deficits. The simple but frustrating problem of making expenses match revenues — something American families do and the federal government can’t — has caused crisis after crisis in this city. Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, I will say to you tonight what I have said before and will continue to say: The budget process has broken down; it needs a drastic overhaul.

With each ensuing year, the spectacle before the American people is the same as it was this Christmas: budget deadlines delayed or missed completely, monstrous continuing resolutions that pack hundreds of billions of dollars worth of spending into one bill, and a federal government on the brink of default.

I know I’m echoing what you here in the Congress have said because you suffered so directly. But let’s recall that in seven years, of 91 appropriations bills scheduled to arrive on my desk by a certain date, only 10 made it on time. Last year, of the 13 appropriations bills due by October 1, none of them made it. Instead, we had four continuing resolutions lasting 41 days, then 36 days, and two days, and three days, respectively.

All that was the buildup to a climactic, theatrical moment, where the Great Communicator masterfully used props to drive home his point:

And then, along came these behemoths. This is the conference report — 1,053 pages, report weighing 14 pounds. Then this — a reconciliation bill 6 months late that was 1,186 pages long, weighing 15 pounds. And the long-term continuing resolution — this one was 2 months late, and it’s 1,057 pages long, weighing 14 pounds.

That was a total of 43 pounds of paper and ink. You had three hours — yes, three hours — to consider each, and it took 300 people at my Office of Management and Budget just to read the bill so the government wouldn’t shut down.

Congress shouldn’t send another one of these. No, and if you do, I will not sign it.

Watch the clip for the full effect:


Filed under: Government and History and News & Politics and People and Video
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