Trump Targets the Schumer Excuse


Taxpayers should soon be receiving some good news from Washington. President

Donald Trump

and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) appear to have found a way to enact modest federal spending restraint, despite resistance from some GOP senators. Faced with a number of Republicans who claim they cannot repeal their 2018 spending surge because they made a deal with Democrats, Mr. Trump and House GOP leaders instead aim to cut funding approved in previous years. This amounts to billions of dollars that bureaucrats never got around to spending, and now perhaps they never will.

The idea that Republicans were honor-bound to continue all the spending that Senate Minority Leader

Chuck Schumer

(D., N.Y.) recently extracted probably makes little sense to those outside of government. This is especially true because, to secure his new budget buster, Mr. Schumer had to break his own previous agreement with Republicans to abide by reasonable limits on discretionary spending.

The opportunity to impose some small measure of discipline now exists because spending rules make it easier to rescind federal spending than to approve it in the first place. Republicans needed 60 votes on the first go-round so they had to deal with Mr. Schumer unless they wanted another government shutdown. The result exceeded the 2018 and 2019 spending caps under the Budget Control Act by a total of nearly $300 billion.

President Trump expressed contempt for this bipartisan fiscal disaster in March, but he signed it anyway. Then the Journal’s Kimberley Strassel pointed out that spending rescissions can happen with a simple majority. Now Capitol Hill is expecting an imminent White House request for taxpayer savings. By leaving untouched the 2018 omnibus train wreck that starred Chuck—rather than Amy—Schumer, the White House has provided a path for senators to do right by taxpayers while also honoring their Beltway values. On Sunday Mr. McCarthy told Fox News that some taxpayer money is still sitting in accounts for programs that no longer even exist.

Will some GOP senators find a new reason to resist spending restraint even after the Schumer excuse is taken off the table? It won’t be easy because those who favor spending cuts will likely now be able to force a vote. This will encourage reluctant GOP senators to endorse at least a baby step toward budget sanity.

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Democrats may also have trouble maintaining their unified blue wall for ever-higher spending. Incumbents running in states that Mr. Trump carried—including Sens.

Joe Donnelly

of Indiana,

Heidi Heitkamp

of North Dakota and Jon Tester of Montana—will not welcome an opportunity to go on record against modest reform and may be inclined to vote yes.

Then they can make their own excuses to Mr. Schumer.


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(Lisa Rossi helps compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Tony Lima, Irene DeBlasio, Jackie Harty and Frederick Welk.)

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