Scarcely a month after American voters decided it was time for big changes in Washington, the primary beneficiaries of the shift have all but betrayed those that put them in power. Though the Republican-dominated Senate will not take their seats until next year, many analysts figured the GOP would have enough political capital to push through a spending bill favorable to conservatives. Unfortunately, the bill – a $1.1 trillion “CROmnibus” – is one big concession to President Obama.
What is perhaps most concerning about this bill is how much it gives away in terms of Obama’s pet projects. Conservatives wanted nothing more than to see Republican Party leadership take a firm stance against his executive action on immigration. This they could have done in any number of ways, though the most extreme ideas might have led to a shutdown. That would have likely hurt Republicans in the polls, but sometimes you have to stick up for what’s right even if it doesn’t match what’s popular. Obama exceeded his constitutional authority when he provided effective amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, turning the White House into a lawmaking body in all but name.
Even if they didn’t want to shut down the government, Republicans could have surely done more to oppose the president than a symbolic vote doomed for the Senate trash can. Instead, they agreed on a bill that provides full funding for amnesty. Language in the bill authorizes funding increases for Health and Human Services’ Unaccompanied Alien Children program, opens the door for illegals to get Social Security, and provides extra money in grants to help educate unaccompanied minors.
Republicans opted to fund Homeland Security only through the winter of 2015, but the chances of them making a real stand against amnesty at that time are slim. Boehner and McConnell have essentially ceded victory to President Obama on this important issue, ignoring the millions of Americans who opposed the president’s actions. The Republican-controlled Congress will only have one legitimate shot at creating a budget from the ground up before the 2016 election takes center stage. And if their cowardice this year is any indication, next year’s budget fight probably won’t be any better for true conservatives.
Americans voted for change in November, but Republicans apparently only heard the message the liberal media trumpeted. That message – that voters were sick of gridlock – has apparently paralyzed GOP leadership, forcing them into conflict with the more conservative members of Congress. Meanwhile, it paves the way for Obama to be anything but a lame duck president. If Republicans are scared to present an “obstructionist” image to the public, Obama is free to carry on with his liberal agenda. With no more elections to worry about himself, there is even cause to believe he will be worse than ever in his final two years.
This Republican cave-in is perhaps the most depressing moment in politics we’ve seen in years. It is clear now that conservatives do not have a voice in Washington. Neither, apparently, does the U.S. Constitution.