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Spending, The Speaker, and Failure

Below is a letter to the editor of The Sheridan Press submitted by Elena K. Campbell of Sheridan. Since there is no guarantee that the Press will print letters, we are happy to make them available here.

U.S. Debt is currently in excess of $33 trillion. How did we get here? The Budget Act of 1974 has been ignored since the 1990s. Instead of 12 single subject spending bills that can be vetted as the budget is renewed, legislators have allowed the clock to run out with ensuing threats of pending government shutdown. To avoid this discomfort, Continuing Resolutions with huge omnibus spending packages are passed with not a single subject reviewed.

The US credit rating has been recently downgraded. De-dollarization is underway. We are losing reserve currency status. People around the world are reticent to use US bonds to trade. They are trading amongst themselves, bypassing the US dominated SWIFT trading system. Deficit spending (exporting debt) will no longer be an option. It is going to be a very painful adjustment for us, no matter how we slice it. This morass is decades in the making.

Americans understand that monetary inflation, (which is what the US government with the Federal Reserve have been doing for decades with all the debt creation,) leads to price inflation. The average American is paying $700 more per month than this time last year for the same goods and services. This is untenable for most, and it is accelerating.

Pork barrel spending continues and K-Street lobbyists stay happy.

The US House holds the purse strings and leverage. It is up to the House to create the spending bills and get them over to the Senate. House Republicans, with a slim margin, made a deal with Speaker McCarthy that he would adhere to the Budget Act of 1974 in a (very late) attempt to correct course.

The House managed to get a few single spending bills over to the Senate (some 80% of the budget) which are still sitting over there. That was a good start, but instead of completing the rest of the single spending bills, House members were sent home for six critical weeks. Returning to Congress, the time clock had run out. Again, backs were against the wall. An agreement was made, under threat of shutdown, to pass another Continuing Resolution for a few months, adding 1.5 trillion to the debt. McCarthy got rolled. The final agreement with the executive branch wound up being that there will be NO debt ceiling, and that it will go unaddressed until March, 2025. Forfeited were the strings and leverage.

For this abysmal failure, McCarthy got fired. Perhaps with a new Speaker, the rest of those 12 spending bills can be completed and sent to the Senate. But this Congress has limited time to get its act together. Let’s hope they quit the bickering and get it done.

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