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Congress should vote down McCarthy-Biden budget deal


For all the drama of the last two weeks – multiple meetings of Congressional leaders at the White House still employing Covid protocols, President Biden cutting short his Asia-Pacific visit and not attending the forth Quad meeting, and Speaker McCarthy’s daily updates about progress – the recently announced budget deal is an insult to the American people.

To understand why, let us examine the three different budget proposals floating around Washington since March.

1. The Biden Budget

On March 9, President Biden fired the first salvo in releasing his budget.

America’s debt stands today at a whopping $31 trillion, but for Fiscal 2023, President Biden wanted to spend $6.8 trillion, about $530 billion more than Fiscal 2022, although Covid is long behind us. His defense spending was the biggest in history, at $886 billion, compared to $767 billion last year. If Congress blessed Biden’s budget request as he proposed it, the federal deficit would reach nearly $2 trillion. Yes, an annual deficit of $2 trillion.

As is typical with the Biden White House, the official statement was full of lies, and the media lapped them all up without questioning the assertions. The narrative was that Biden was reducing the deficit when it was actually increasing at an alarming rate. The idea that costs were being lowered for families was false because Bidenflation, running at 15.3% in April, has continued to take a bite out of American households.

2. The GOP House Budget

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who won the gavel after 15 grueling House votes in January, criticized the Biden budget. In April, he corralled a weak coalition (the GOP has a 222-213 majority meaning McCarthy could not afford a defection of more than five votes) to pass a House response to the budget. This budget was so unserious that we noted last month that it was a joke on the American people. McCarthy blessed 78% of the Biden budget as is and never questioned the defense budget, merrily agreeing to fund the Ukraine war.

The GOP budget targeted just the 22% of the budget set aside for discretionary spending. McCarthy’s idea was to start with the 2022 baseline and increase it by 1% a year, rather than the inflation-adjusted 3.25%. He ignored the fact that America would still have a $1.375 trillion deficit in 2023. Because debt service costs are significantly higher as the Fed continues to increase interest rates, and both parties in Washington want to continue to fund Ukraine, the deficits would actually be worse in subsequent years.

For the ten-year period of 2023-2032, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the Biden budget would result in an additional $18.8 trillion in deficits, bringing America to nearly $50 trillion in total debt by 2032. McCarthy’s budget lowered this by about $4.6 trillion, but would still leave America with $45 trillion in debt in 2032. In McCarthy’s Beltway-trained thinking, an increase of 1% counted as a cut because the debt would be less than the Biden numbers.

Debt ceiling lever. With the Senate in Democratic control, even this watered-down GOP budget had little chance of passing Congress. Even if it passed, the legislation risked a presidential veto. But McCarthy had one tool to use as a lever to get free-spending Democrats to negotiate. America’s rapid borrowing had again brought it close to the debt ceiling, and unless Congress raised it, the Treasury would run out of money to pay the government’s bills. Janet Yellen, the Treasury secretary, said that this day would occur on June 1, later modified to June 5.

The McCarthy-Biden budget. After weeks of drama, the two leaders agreed on a 99-page budget outline, which was supposed to be a compromise.

The agreement, as we said earlier, is an insult to Americans. McCarthy caved to Biden by agreeing to unconditionally raise the debt ceiling to whatever amount is needed by the Treasury and not address the issue until January 2025, after the 2024 general election. Regarding “savings,” the White House estimates that the deal would cut spending by $1 trillion over a decade because discretionary spending would not increase as fast as the other budget elements. In other words, America would still have a total debt burden of $49 trillion in 2032, not the $50 trillion under the original Biden plan or the $45 trillion under the original McCarthy budget. Every practical demand went the Democrats’ way.

Congress Should Vote Down The McCarthy-Biden Deal

The Left is furious that the White House agreed to even $1 trillion in savings over the next ten years. So, expect many left-leaning lawmakers to vote no on the agreement.

The rank and file of the GOP should vote down the deal even at the risk of the nation defaulting on the debt ceiling. The only terms acceptable to the GOP should be:

  1. Agree to raise the debt ceiling for four months in return for appointing a bipartisan commission, like Simpson-Bowles, that would examine every aspect of the federal budget, including taxes and defense spending with its far-flung bases worldwide, and report back to Congress by next summer. Entitlement reform, such as changes to Social Security, should be an integral element.
  2. Once the commission is formed and constituted, Speaker McCarthy should raise the debt ceiling through the early Fall of next year, right in the middle of the election season, so that Americans have a say at the ballot box.
  3. Before the 2024 election, McCarthy should force votes on the House floor and raise the ceiling to the first 100 days of the next presidential administration so the country can come together to pass a ten-year deficit reduction bill into law.

Washington should restore America’s global standing by fundamentally changing how the government spends more than it takes in revenue. Congress should vote down anything less. No questions asked.

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TIPP Takes

Geopolitics And Geoeconomics

1. Ukraine-Russia Border ‘Demilitarized Zone’ Floated For Peace Deal – Al Jazeera

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Zelenskyy, said that a demilitarized zone between 62 to 75 miles wide should be established in Russian border territory with Ukraine as part of any post-war settlement.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

An aide to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also said that Ukraine had no interest in any ceasefire that locks in Russian territorial gains.

2. Ukraine War: Russian Air Strikes Target Kyiv For Third Night Running – BBC

Blasts were heard in Kyiv and several buildings were set ablaze after Russia targeted Ukraine’s capital for the third night running. Ukraine’s air defenses intercepted more than 20 drones.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

Analysts say Moscow is seeking to deplete and damage Ukraine’s air defences ahead of its long-expected counter-offensive.

3. Ukrainian Lawmakers Approve Sanctions On Iran For 50 Years – RFE/RL

Ukrainian lawmakers approved a bill proposed by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to impose sanctions on Iran for 50 years.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal
President Putin with Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi

The sanctions, among other restrictions, include a complete ban on trade with Iran, investments, and transferring technologies. Kyiv has accused Tehran of providing Moscow with military drones for use in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Iran has vehemently denied.

4. Russian ‘Spy’ Whale Hvaldimir Spotted Off Sweden Coast – Al Jazeera

A beluga whale that turned up in Norway in 2019, sparking speculation it had been trained by the Russian navy because of a man-made harness it was wearing, has reappeared off Sweden’s coast.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

Moscow never issued any official reaction to Norwegian speculation that the whale could be a “Russian spy”.

5. U.S. Says China Declined Request To Meet Its Defense Chief In Singapore – AFP

Beijing has declined a U.S. invitation for a meeting in Singapore between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu, the Pentagon said.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu

Li was sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2018 for buying Russian weapons, but the Pentagon says that does not prevent Austin from conducting official business with him.

6. China Sets 2030 Deadline To Send Astronauts To The Moon – UPI

Deputy Director Lin Xiqiang’s announcement came along with other firsts on deck for the China Manned Space Agency.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

The Shenzhou-16 mission is set to launch from Jiuquan on Tuesday and will travel to the Tiangong space station. The three-person mission is scheduled to spend about five months aboard the station.

7. Elon Musk Lands In Beijing; Expected To Meet Senior Chinese Officials – WION

After the United States, China is Tesla’s second-largest market, also the electric carmaker company’s Shanghai plant is its largest production hub.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

8. Iran Set To Unveil Hypersonic Missile ‘Soon’: IRGC Commander – Al Arabiya

This comes after Iran last week unveiled a new ballistic missile capable of reaching a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) and carrying warheads weighing over a ton.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

In November, Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC’s aerospace unit made the initial claim that Iran had developed a hypersonic missile. The claim was met with doubts from Washington.

9. North Korea Confirms June Launch Of Military Spy Satellite – AFP

North Korea has confirmed it will launch a reconnaissance satellite in June, saying it is needed to monitor military movements of the U.S. and its partners in real-time.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

An official also accused the United States of conducting “hostile air espionage activities on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity.”

10. Japan, U.S., Philippine Coast Guards To Hold First 3-Way Sea Drill – Kyodo News

The countries’ first trilateral maritime exercise will be held off the Philippine coast.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

The move that will showcase their interoperability near the South China Sea, where Beijing is making assertive territorial claims. The South China Sea is an important trade route where China, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries have overlapping claims.

11. Japan PM Kishida Sacks Son As Executive Secretary Amid Criticism – Kyodo News

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that he will fire his eldest son Shotaro from his role as executive secretary.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

The move comes amid growing criticism over inappropriate photographs taken at the premier’s official residence during a family function last year.

Shotaro Kishida has been a repeated source of trouble for the prime minister since he was tapped for the executive secretary role in October.

12. Sudan’s Warring Parties Extend Fragile Truce By 5 Days – D.W.

The weeklong cease-fire, which barely held amid reports of ongoing fighting, was extended shortly before it was set to expire.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal
Army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and RSF Commander Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo

Mediators Saudi Arabia and the U.S. maintain hope it could lead to a longer-term truce. Sources said amendments to the new deal were underway to produce a more effective truce.

13. Biden Slams Uganda Anti-Gay Law, Urges Repeal – AFP

President Joe Biden slammed Uganda’s draconian new law against homosexuality as a grave human rights violation and threatened to cut aid and investment in the east African country.

Congress Should Vote Down McCarthy-Biden Budget Deal

He said the administration would also consider slapping sanctions on Uganda and restricting the entry into the United States of people engaging in human rights abuses or corruption there.

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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights

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