Pop quiz hot shot.
Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are at the wheel of the Washington spending bus, ramming spending bills through Congress and leaving a path of fiscal destruction in their wake. If the bus slows down, voting Americans start catching on to the looming economic devastation, and the federal spending bus explodes before Democrats can achieve their goals – power and control.
What do you do? What doooo you do?
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) slammed the breaks on the haphazard spending with two simple words – “I object.” The 78-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-politician reminded us all of what it means to be a fiscal conservative. The liberal reaction has been what the Wall Street Journal fittingly describes at “faux indignation.”
Mr. Bunning has dared to put a hold on a $10 billion spending bill to extend jobless insurance and fund transportation projects. Mr. Bunning says he won’t yield until the Senate finds a way to pay for the new spending with cuts somewhere else in the $3.5 trillion budget. For this perfectly reasonable stance, Mr. Bunning has become the Beltway and media villain of the hour. We’d call it his finest hour.
Indeed – a proud moment for fiscal conservatives longing for true representation in Washington. Fiscal restraint – even when it’s inconvenient.
The $10 billion bill Bunning intercepted would extend unemployment benefits, extend health insurance subsidies, extend highway funding, increase Medicare reimbursement rates for physicians, extend a temporary “flood insurance” program and continue aid for small business programs.
The source of this cowboy senator’s inspiration for fiscal responsibility? He’s not running for re-election after his current term, so what does he have to lose by doing the right, but unpopular, thing. Or perhaps, like so many conservative Americans, he just couldn’t bring himself to quietly acquiesce to more reckless spending. Or maybe it was that legislation Congress passed last month which mandates that for every dime of new federal spending, a dime of cuts must be made to other spending.
It’s called PAYGO. New spending bills must be budget-neutral or bankrolled with savings derived from existing federal funds, forcing fiscal restraint and prioritizing. Nonetheless, a mere 18 days after President Obama signed the joint resolution reinstating PAYGO, Congressional Democrats are already trying to slide an unfunded spending bill through the loopholes in PAYGO rules and are mad as hell that Sen. Bunning won’t play along.
Yes – the Democrats rallied around the successful reinstatement of PAYGO spending rules. Yes – the Democrats tried to slip a $10 billion bill through. They were called on it. But, never to be hampered by the facts, Democrats on the Hill (with the unconditional and eager assistance of the liberal media) are vilifying Bunning. No shame in Washington.