Wednesday, 19 July 2023

Horowitz: Speaker McCarthy should cancel August recess to set up ultimate budget fight in the fall

 Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. But to bring these issues to the brink and to the consciousness of the public, House Republicans need not do anything extraordinary like storming the beaches of Normandy. They merely need to cancel the August recess, use the budget and must-pass bills to expose, reform, and defund all harmful aspects of government, and then draw an impervious line to refuse to move from those bills come 11:59 p.m. September 30 when the fiscal year comes due.

It boils down to the reality that we can’t wait until 2025 for a change in the White House to obtain redress from the Fourth Reich. The debt and inflation are unsustainable, the border invasion cannot continue, the grooming of our children must be stopped, the biomedical security state and human experimentations need to be shut down, the green energy destruction of our way of life must be terminated, and the weaponization of government against citizens must be arrested immediately. 

This is where the budget bills and reauthorization legislation come into play. With precious few legislative days before the August recess and the end of the fiscal year, House Republicans are struggling to find the time and the unity to complete the appropriations bills while fulfilling their campaign promises. On top of the appropriations bills coming due on October 1, there is also the defense authorization bill, the Pandemic and Hazard Preparedness Act, the farm bill, and FISA reauthorization. All these bills provide us with a unique opportunity to harness leverage points affecting every aspect of government and redress each of our grievances one by one. But at this pace, lawmakers might only pass a few of these bills with only a few of the proper priorities included in them, and the public won’t even pay attention headed into a government shutdown fight. 

In order to properly unify behind these proposals, engage in effective public relations of these government reforms to command the public attention, and give the public confidence that Republicans are serious about actually standing behind the House-passed bills when the deadline approaches (unlike with the debt ceiling), McCarthy would be wise to cancel most of the August recess.

At present, the House plans to fly out July 28 and not return until Sept. 12. After today, there are only five more legislative days before recess. This gives lawmakers just a handful of days to properly message the pro-America position on the budget, assuming they can even get these bills done properly, which they can’t. In other words, it’s designed to fail and end the way it always does – with a continuing resolution for October 1, leading to an omnibus in December, stripped of all our policy priorities.

Instead, House Republicans should stay in session for at least four of the six weeks and focus each week on a new area of government reforms using the appropriate legislative and appropriations vehicles. For example, they should spend one week – between the HHS appropriations bill and the PAHPA reauthorization bill – on dismantling the biomedical security state. With Biden vegetating on the beach and Senate Democrats on recess traveling the world, McCarthy and his team should conduct endless press conferences, interviews, and campaigns exposing the problems with pharma fascism in the lead-up to passage of a budget defunding the biomedical security regime.

Next, they’d turn to the border with DHS funding. Then education with the anti-family agenda, and so on until the green energy grift, Ukraine, and the weaponization of government. Each day, they would conduct votes on different parts of the government and make sure they command national attention during the slowest news cycle month of the year. They would demonstrate a seriousness of purpose to the American people as the only ones willing to govern — and to govern in accordance with the will of the people.

Finally, they’d spend a week on things like the FISA reauthorization and the Department of Justice appropriations bill, whereby they’d reveal the truth about the persecution of Americans and juxtapose the unequal treatment of J6 defendants with that of BLM rioters.

It’s in this context that they should then make the case against the DOJ/FBI prosecutions of Trump and prohibit all funding for such prosecutions. Bizarrely, those most concerned about the prosecution of Trump – including the former president himself – have not called on McCarthy to defund these prosecutions.

If this is really such an imminent problem that will land Trump behind bars, then why is all the messaging behind it geared toward guilting conservatives into nominating Trump for president when January 2025 will be too late to save him anyway? If this is really about principle and outcomes and not about grift or making specific choices in the presidential primary, then everyone should unite behind a defund strategy, and Trump himself should be the first one demanding this of McCarthy. 

October 1, 2023, is a much more important and urgent date than January 20, 2025. We are facing the weakest president ever, and it would be easy to steamroll him through a government funding fight over the right issues with a coherent and unified message. As we’ve painfully learned with the debt ceiling betrayal, unifying behind good legislation in a vacuum is meaningless if leadership doesn’t plan to stand behind it when the rubber meets the road at the end of the fiscal year.

On the other hand, canceling the August recess and working assiduously on these bills while giving the American people a serious presentation of our values that captures the urgency of our times would go a long way in building the unity and confidence needed for a successful budget fight on September 30.

Working to pass all the 12 appropriations bills with the right values and spending levels, in addition to the reforms in the reauthorization bill, will give House Republicans enormous leverage over the Senate and the president. Senate Democrats don’t have the votes to pass any bill whatsoever, so House Republicans can jam them on the critical issues headed into the new fiscal year.

Trump saddled us with Kevin McCarthy. He now has the opportunity to make him the star he claimed he was in January. It’s time to call on McCarthy to cancel the six-week recess and hold the line on all budget bills at the end of the fiscal year. We’d hate to see what the next fiscal year looks like absent such a courageous stance.

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