- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 19, 2020

What the heck is going on in Washington?

Many of the city’s playmakers are dancing and singing and making merry like Christmas because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are poised to again hold court in the West Wing.

It’s a progressive party celebration, though. Fiscal conservatives are not allowed — even if they wear a mask.

Spending isn’t the problem, as Mayor Muriel Bowser doesn’t hesitate to publicize spending on housing programs and business bailouts.

And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York unleashed a tweet Thursday, saying we should “pay people to stay home” until COVID-19 is hurled off the planet.

A few minutes later, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Michigan tweeted: “We need to send every American a check until this crisis is over.”

Here’s a question for both: Who’s going to pay the price for such largesse?

Their children and grandchildren? Elderly Americans who already are struggling to put food on their tables for one?

Thank God food banks, nonprofits and kind souls are trying to sustain safety nets during the pandemic, even though state and local governments have already pushed the spending panic buttons.

There’s barely a major city in the country from the East Coast to the West that didn’t hesitate to prioritize spending on the coronavirus, and some of that spending depends on federal funding, which is not a new dependency.

The crucial issue now is not whether a new federal stimulus bill is forthcoming.

Of course one is. The federal government handed over dough to the automakers, didn’t it, during the Bush-Obama financial crisis?

So mostly, what’s adrift currently is how much the federal government and states and localities have already spent.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has been juggling budgets since the pandemic hit. However, what he has yet to do is hold a press conference to announce how much money the city has spent so far battling COVID-19.

On schools. On housing. On health care. On feeding programs. On businesses to stay open. On transportation. On cleaning City Hall and the new Marion Barry building.

Keeping residents, businesses and other stakeholders informed falls on the council chairman, who soon will reconfigure the 13-member legislature so current and incoming members can assume their committee positions.

That’ll surely be easy peasy for Mr. Mendelson, since City Hall hasn’t had vigorous debate and discourse since … since … since Obama-Biden took over the West Wing and the D.C. Republican Party fell into a Rip Van Winkle-like sleep.

Mr. Mendelson and the council need to zoom in on more than themselves; they need to zoom in on the spending side of the D.C. budget — unless he doesn’t want the public to know what the heck is really going on in Washington.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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