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The Executive Branch Must Act Within Its Authority

America's Diminishing "Reserve Currency" Status
Speaker McCarthy
needs backbone in order to
cut federal spending

Lack of Planning Means Goals Aren't Reached

Published in The Galveston County Daily News
September 7, 2023

 According to the Constitution this process begins in the House.  According to the Congressional Research Service this year only one of these twelve bills has passed the House; an additional nine have been reported out of committee but have not received floor action, and the remaining two have only had subcommittee action and are awaiting full committee markup.  The Senate hasn’t acted on any appropriation measures, including the one passed by the House.  This is a worse record than when what we reported in our  October 5, 2015 column. The bottom line is Congress, under Republican and Democrat control, still isn’t doing its job. With a federal shutdown looming on October 1st this means Congress will probably revert, once again, to continuing resolutions which just kicks the can down the road. 

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants to reduce spending to 2022 levels.  In order to do this, he will need to act from a position of strength.  The way to do this is to pass ALL of the twelve appropriations bills and negotiate on each one individually.  If the Senate, or the Administration, doesn’t like what’s in an omnibus bill they can threaten a total federal government shutdown.  But if each bill is passed separately then it’s possible to move forward, only holding up funding for specific agencies.  For example; provisions could be included in the Commerce-Justice bill that prohibits funding for the weaponizing of the Department of Justice or the Financial Services bill could defund the 87,000 IRS special agents.  If all the other ten appropriation measures are enacted then only the Commerce, Justice (FBI) and the Treasury (IRS) Departments would be without funding.  The rest of the government would remain up and running.  This approach would not be possible if funding for all the agencies and departments are lumped together in an omnibus bill.  But in order to be successful McCarthy needs to hold firm and reject the omnibus bill approach, something the Democrat-controlled Senate is likely to oppose. 

Enter the new House Rules that McCarthy agreed to in order to become Speaker.   As we noted in our January 19th column there was no “red wave” in the 2022 Congressional election. McCarthy agreed that if he didn’t live up to his promises, any single member could call for a vote of “no confidence” over his leadership.  A cadre of members, led by Chip Roy (R-TX), are threatening to do just that if McCarthy fails to hold the line on reducing spending.  If McCarthy faulters it is clear his Speakership will be in jeopardy.  This small number of members gave him pass on the debt ceiling debate earlier this year even though they weren’t happy about his surrender to the Administration, but it seems they’re not likely do to so with the appropriations bills.  If McCarthy wants to keep his position, he will need to get some backbone and start cutting back on our out-of-control spending.

About the Authors and Columnists
Bill Sargent and Mark Mansius


Bill Sargent and Mark Mansius have written
over 250 guest columns since 2014 and continue to do so.
Bill lives in Galveston, Texas and Mark in St. Georges, Utah.
Both ran against each other in the 2012 Republican Primary
for Texas Congressional District 14, since then
they have become close friends and colleagues.