Per­pet­u­at­ing the swamp

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - BY TOM GAR­RETT Gar­rett is the Repub­li­can U.S. rep­re­sen­ta­tive rep­re­sent­ing Rap­pa­han­nock County and Vir­ginia’s 5th con­gres­sional dis­trict.

As a new­comer to Congress, I can­not help but re­call my frus­tra­tion as a cit­i­zen, at how things worked, or per­haps didn’t work in Wash­ing­ton. Politi­cians rarely demon­strated the will­ing­ness to say ‘no’ to the next good idea, whether or not it was some­thing that should or had pre­vi­ously been within the enu­mer­ated role of the fed­eral leg­is­la­ture. This think­ing brought us the fed­eral dom­i­nance in the hereto­fore state and lo­cal arena of ed­u­ca­tion, mean­while there was a cor­re­lat­ing drop in the achieve­ment of Amer­i­can stu­dents ver­sus the global com­pe­ti­tion. It gave us the Obama years, where the Pres­i­dent, who fa­mously re­ferred to seven tril­lion in debt as “un­pa­tri­otic,” over­saw a near tripling of that debt in just eight years and of­fi­cially ac­crued more debt in a span of two terms than our na­tion had seen in over two-hun­dred years com­bined. It got us a health­care plan that we had to pass to see what was in it, which ex­ists while laws on mar­i­juana and im­mi­gra­tion are se­lec­tively en­forced when they are en­forced at all.

But that was all to have changed. “We were go­ing to drain the swamp!”

Fast for­ward to to­day. There is ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve that the Se­nate will couple a clean in­crease in our na­tion’s au­thor­ity to grow its twenty tril­lion dol­lars in debt with re­lief money for the dev­as­ta­tion and vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. (As an aside, twenty tril­lion is twenty thou­sand, thou­sand, thou­sand, thou­sand dol­lars). This is not drain­ing the swamp. This is per­pet­u­at­ing it. This is a plan to grow the very wet­lands that this White House pledged to dry up.

House lead­er­ship has pro­posed re­lief fund­ing for Har­vey with­out poi­sonously pack­ag­ing in an un­pro­por­tion­ate in­crease and sus­pen­sion of the debt ceil­ing, while the Se­nate has not. This is just an­other rea­son that the Founders gave us sep­a­rate branches of govern­ment and a bi­cam­eral leg­is­la­ture; it is a great ex­am­ple of the grade school les­son on checks and bal­ances.

So, the po­lit­i­cal thought goes that no mem­ber would dare op­pose re­lief for vic­tims of what is in terms of dol­lars, the costli­est nat­u­ral disas­ter in U.S. his­tory. To do so, would be po­lit­i­cal sui­cide. I don’t op­pose the re­lief, I sup­port it, but to al­low the Se­nate and White House to ad­vance the nar­ra­tive that the only way that can be ac­com­plished is by for­feit­ing our re­spon­si­bil­ity to be good stew­ards of tax dol­lars and bend down an un­sus­tain­able spend­ing curve that is an ex­is­ten­tial threat to life in Amer­ica as we know it is not only false, it is down­right swamp-like. When I find a shrimp in my beef stew, I know the chef is do­ing some­thing wrong. When I’m forced to vote for debt ceil­ing sus­pen­sion pack­aged in with log­i­cal re­lief fund­ing, I know Se­nate lead­er­ship is do­ing some­thing wrong.

Thank­fully, the op­tion the House is con­sid­er­ing this morn­ing grants mem­bers the op­por­tu­nity to sup­port the very nec­es­sary fund­ing for re­lief, but the op­tion the Se­nate is likely to send back threat­ens to re­turn as an om­nibus pack­age. Not a sin­gle sub­ject, but a pack­age of good and bad things, rammed through, with an un­spo­ken dare that some­one might speak out.

Well, chal­lenge ac­cepted. I want Har­vey re­lief. I want it as soon as pos­si­ble, but I won’t sit by idly and wish that things were done the way the Founders in­tended. I will speak out. Fund­ing re­lief for Har­vey is nec­es­sary, but rais­ing the debt ceil­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ately by twenty tril­lion dol­lars is not. This is ridicu­lous. This is swamp-like. This needs to end, and if say­ing so has a po­lit­i­cal cost, so be it.

Sim­ply put, if this leg­isla­tive pat­tern and tac­tic con­tin­ues of pack­ag­ing nec­es­sary fund­ing with ir­re­spon­si­ble spend­ing in­creases, we as a na­tion will find our­selves omni-busted.

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