Many conservatives are angry with President Trump for cutting a deal with Democrats on a bill to provide relief for Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters. The bill also raised the debt ceiling and continued spending at the current rate until December 15.
The House, with the support of all four Mississippi representatives, passed their bill by a vote of 419-3 and the Senate 80-17. The Senate bill doubled the amount of money for disaster relief, with the support of Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker.
Among those who voted against it were conservative stalwarts such as Mike Lee and Rand Paul but also moderates like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
So what are the problems with the bill?
Many conservatives and conservative groups are upset because a disaster relief bill should not have been tied to the debt ceiling. There should have been a clean disaster relief bill and a clean debt-ceiling bill, each debated and voted on separately. The same is true for a stopgap spending measure.
They are also angry that Trump cut his deal with “Chuck and Nancy.” Because once again Democrats got everything they wanted. It’s almost as if Republicans are not in charge of anything in Washington. Even Rand Paul’s sensible amendment to cut spending in other areas to pay for the disaster funding was voted down.
And there are reports that Trump is working with Schumer to permanently repeal the debt ceiling so that Congress won’t ever have to worry about raising it again.
As one conservative reporter wrote, “It’s now possible that Trump’s biggest legislative wins this year will be more spending and raising the debt cap — the exact opposite of what Tea Party Republicans came to D.C. to do.”
Republicans, who control Congress, were seeking an 18-month debt ceiling increase, which Trump managed to whittle down to 3, thus setting up a bitter party fight right before Christmas. Of this Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, one of the few “no” votes, said the bill made Chuck Schumer “the most powerful man in America for the month of December.”
Mark Levin was also upset with Trump. “Now the president who said he would shut down the government in order to get the wall completely backtracked. Not only is he not shutting down the government, but the debt is completely out of control and they’re doing absolutely nothing about it but adding to it. He’s going to increase the debt limit without getting a damn thing. All the leverage, thrown out the window.”
Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran supported the leadership, which eventually went along with the package. This was not wholly unexpected. Taxing and spending are right up their alley and they never miss an opportunity to expand government.
Conservatives were betrayed in this deal, and Roger and Thad were on board for the ride.