- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 24, 2018

Congress, led by Republicans, passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the government operational through the end of the fiscal year, September 30.

The message to voters? Democrats and Republicans are one and the same.

The only clear winners with this omnibus are the swamp creatures slinking about Capitol Hill, the ones who pretend at fighting for the good for the country while robbing all that’s truly good for the country.

And what’s good for the country is not having debt out the wazoo.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated weeks ago the $1.3 trillion plan will lead to the Treasury running a deficit of about a trillion dollars each year. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney admitted the bill was hardly perfect, but the best that could come, given the 60-vote requirement to close debate in the Senate. And House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows blasted it as counter to conservative principles and promises to voters — right on both counts.

“This is wrong,” Meadows said, of the omnibus. “This is not the limited government conservatism our voters demand. Our constituents — our employers — deserve better.”

President Donald Trump, shortly after its congressional passage, threatened to veto it — and that’s even after tweeting his support for it earlier in the week. He then changed his mind and said he’d sign it — but never again. OK, believe it or not. That’s the choice of the individual. But really, the fate of the bill isn’t so much the story here as the actions of Republicans in Congress.

The fact that Republicans in Congress would actually stand for such spending is eye-opening and demonstrative of the very sad realization: They’re behaving like Democrats, in both spending and legislative maneuvering.

Whatever happened to fighting for the little guy?

The bill spanned 2,232 pages when it was released by leadership on Wednesday. By Friday, it was cleared by congressional vote for Trump’s signing. 

Who read it? Right. Nobody! Who had time? Thanks for that, Republicans.

This is the same tactic touted by a blithe Nancy Pelosi in 2010, when she crowed of the need to pass the bloated Obamacare bill in order to find out what it contained. Republicans, remember, slammed her then.

But now? With the omnibus? The GOP simply tipped their collective hat of hypocrisy her way. Apparently, nowadays, Republicans have no problem with passing bills before reading them, either.

Come on, GOP: Get it together. Democrats have always been the tax-and-spenders. But conservatives, Republicans, those on the ideological right, have traditionally been the watchdogs on spending — the voices of reason, pointing out the pitfalls of constantly dipping into the taxpayer’s pocket to grow government, reminding how robbing Peter to pay Paul soon enough leaves Peter broke.

What the heck has happened?

The Republicans may hold the majorities in the House and in the Senate — may hold the majorities needed to fight it out, win the public relations battle against the Democrats, and ultimately, hand the Republican president of the United States something more than a budget boondoggle to sign and pass. But they’re neither willing to fight that fight, nor change the Senate rules so they can win that 60-vote war. And why? What’s the reason for this Republican failure? It’s simple.

The swamp of Washington, D.C., sucks up all.

Republicans, it seems, are not really in charge. They’re not really in power. They’re not really the Republicans they pretend to be.

They’re LINOs — Leaders In Name Only, and they’re swimming in the same swamp that Democrats swim, beholden to the same swamp creature as Democrats. So how can voters win? Simple. Go more for character, not partisanship — more for patriotism and America First principles than party loyalty — at the polls. It’s the only way to dredge the swamp called D.C.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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