Larry Kudlow: Senate GOP support of the omnibus spending bill is a betrayal of House Republicans
Senate Republicans' undermining of House Republicans is bad economics, Kudlow says
Save America, kill the omnibus bill. That's a good place to start tonight. Stop the lame-duck spending spree being conducted by the Democrats in both houses, but with the support of Senate Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and retiring appropriator Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Mr. Shelby, who has a fine conservative record down through the years, is blowing it up in his last weeks. He won't be around to pick up the higher inflation pieces that may result from his omnibus spending increases, including his status as the league leader and most valuable player of the earmarks World Series.
When I say Sen. Shelby is the league leader, I know whereof I speak. According to his own Senate Appropriations Committee, his earmarks come to $650 million. The runner-up is another retiree, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma with $511 million, that is followed by recently re-elected Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska at $490 million.
So, of the top 10 most valuable player candidates for earmarks, eight of them are Republicans. Remember how the GOP ran in the midterms to cut spending and inflation? Didn't do all that well, did they?
INFLATION EASES MORE THAN EXPECTED IN NOVEMBER TO 7.1%, BUT CONSUMER PRICES REMAIN ELEVATED
Well, here's just one little reason why. They are the reigning earmark kings of the U.S. Senate. Eight out of 10 of the top 10. All of them have made the playoffs.
Then, of course, the Republican Senate leadership has thrown in with Chuck Schumer to back the so-called omnibus spending bill, put together in a dark, smoke-filled room by a handful of senators coming up with decisions that affect the risks of high inflation and deep recession for 350 million Americans, breaking process rules in an incredibly un-democratic effort.
You can call around senators or senior Hill staffers right now, and nobody will be able to tell you what the topline spending total's going to be or what the individual committee deals are going to be.
So, once again, please take a listen to what Sen. Rand Paul and his scathing attack.
SEN. RAND PAUL: The omnibus will be 3,000 pages, we’ll get it two hours before they want to pass it, no one will read it, but hidden in the 3,000 pages will be — we are going to waive pay go. So, Steve Moore is right, it will take 41 votes, but the other thing is, 41 votes would stop the big spending… We have completely and totally abdicated the power of the purse. Republicans are emasculated, they have no power and they are unwilling to gain that power back.
So, hats off to Sen. Paul for his brilliant synopsis of a painfully broken process. In just a moment, another staunch Senate critic, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, is going to be here to tell us some more.
But let me make two additional points on this Republican emasculation and breaking the power of the purse.
First, there is growing evidence by economists that the principal source of sky-rocketing inflation and the equally rapid Federal Reserve run-up of its M2 money supply was actually caused by huge federal overspending — going back to the Biden COVID relief bill of March of 2021 — which Republicans did oppose. Nonetheless, that bill essentially mandated that the Treasury Department just write checks to the bank accounts of many millions of Americans.
I'm not absolving the Fed, which didn't have to keep zero interest rates and monetize the deficits, but the source seems to be federal over-spending — they just put that money into the bank accounts.
This inflationary budget spending will be enhanced by an omnibus that probably will add $150 billion to $200 billion in brand new spending above the FY '23 baseline. Don't forget, the phony I.R.A. Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act was already added $1.3 trillion together to that baseline. So, we are off to the inflationary races, once again, with the omnibus bill.
My last point is that the Senate Republican leadership's apparent support of the omnibus bill is an unbelievable betrayal of the victorious House Republicans.
Kevin McCarthy and company don't want an omnibus for all of next year, they want a short-term C.R. — Continuing Resolution — that might carry through mid-late January, when they take over the House.
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This would give them a chance to restore regular budget order, with 12 appropriation bills that would substantially cut back on all this inflationary over-spending in the omnibus bill. Or even implement the budget caps with automatic spending cuts.
Why the Senate Republicans leadership wants to undermine the House Republicans is beyond me. I don't get it, but I know it's bad economics, in addition to being very bad politics.
So, I repeat: Save America, kill the omnibus bill.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the December 16, 2022, edition of "Kudlow."