Conservatives lash out at GOP spending binge
NEW YORK (AP) — The GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility no more.
That’s according to some conservatives who are grappling with a Republicanbacked spending binge that threatens to generate trilliondollar deficits for years to come while staining a cherished pillar of the modern-day Republican Party.
While Trump and most of his closest allies largely avoided the subject, fiscal conservatives lashed out against Monday’s release of President Trump’s $4 trillionplus budget, which would create $7.2 trillion in red ink over the next decade if adopted by Congress. That follows congressional passage of last week’s $400 billion spending pact, along with massive tax cuts, which some analysts predict will push deficits to levels not seen in generations.
Deficit hawks in Congress and conservative activists who railed against President Barack Obama’s spending plans called the GOP debt explosion “dangerous,” ‘’immoral” and “a betrayal.” Trump’s own budget director, former South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, told lawmakers Tuesday that he probably would have voted against the spending plan if he were still in Congress.
American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp warned the Republican-controlled Congress not to underestimate the political impact of its spending decisions.
“If the Republicans in Congress don’t realize that spending control is one of the most important issues that our winning coalition cares about, if they are cavalier about spending decisions, I think we do risk our ability to go to the voters and say it matters to have us in the majority,” Schlapp said. He added, “I would urge the White House to be willing to move congressional leaders to take tougher stands when it comes to spending.”
The conservative backlash against government spending is hardly new.
Many still complain about the spending boom under Republican President George W. Bush that wiped out surpluses left by Democratic President Bill Clinton and helped produce big gains for Democrats in the 2008 election. The conservative tea party movement was borne in the subsequent years by the outrage over President Barack Obama’s spending decisions.
But barely a year into his first term, Trump’s GOP has shown inconsistent commitment at best to the three planks that have defined his party since the Reagan era: fiscal responsibility, traditional family values and a strong national defense.