WASHINGTON, DC–This week, Democratic leaders marked the end of Deficits Matter Month by advocating for equal increases in defense and non-defense spending in the next bill to fund the government. (By contrast, some Republicans have advocated massive increases in defense spending without comparably reckless increases in domestic budgets.)*
As many readers may know, Deficits Matter Month is a bipartisan tradition in the nation’s capital. The timing can vary somewhat year to year, but the holiday typically takes place during the fourth quarter when Congress remembers they need to pass a budget. Congressional leadership attempts to use “going home for Christmas” as an incentive for rank-and-file members to agree on some piece of legislation, any legislation really.
By convention, the festivities are led by the party that does not occupy the Executive Branch. Over the last eight years, the Republicans have zealously observed the holiday by routinely threatening government shutdowns to oppose Democratic legislation. They also repeatedly vowed not to raise the debt ceiling before, invariably, voting to raise the debt ceiling.
Now, with President Trump in the White House, this year was the Democratic Party’s opportunity to call attention to the US’s massive annual deficits to criticize Republican legislation–in this case, the GOP tax bill.
Doing her part to observe tradition, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) described the tax bill as a “heist”. Meanwhile, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) characterized the bill as “highway robbery” and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) lamented that Republicans didn’t pursue “real, deficit-neutral” tax reform instead.
Speaking candidly to The Daily Face Palm about the holiday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he was pleased that his party was able to carry on the noble Deficits Matter tradition but he acknowledged they were a bit out of practice.
“Shallow posturing on fiscal responsibility comes naturally for the Republicans,” Schumer explained. “But it’s much harder for us Democrats to get in that mode. On the other hand, if you need someone to make idle threats about impeachment or lament the plight of the poor without discussing the War on Drugs, the regressive payroll tax, or the complete lack of accountability in government education, we will be ready.”
*This is a satirical post. The quote attributed to Schumer is fictional, but all others are legitimate.