While the wind blew and the trees snapped and the cars and houses flew in the midst of Hurricane Irma, the ground shook in Washington, D.C.
President Trump cut a deal with Democrats – and cut Republican leaders out.
Conservative purists were outraged and alarmed that the president would cross the aisle to agree to raising the debt limit so quickly and without precondition. But some on the Republican side appear to have been willing to hold up aid to Hurricane Harvey victims in order to make a point.
We agree with the point – fiscal sanity – but could not disagree more on the tactic. It would’ve looked horrible, and it would’ve been dreadful.
The deal saved Republicans from themselves.
The bill, which sets aside $15 billion for hurricane relief and puts the debt ceiling debate off for another three months, passed the House 316-90. It passed the U.S. Senate 80-17. President Trump quickly signed it.
Again, we’re with the fiscal hawks in spirit. The national debt has climbed over a staggering $20 trillion – and the quickly mounting numbers at the national debt clock online – usdebtclock.org – are simply dizzying as they tick off our indebtedness in real time.
The national debt, and our leaders’ inability to stop their profligate spending, is the No. 1 threat to America. Not terrorism, not war, not even hurricanes. Debt.
But Congress has the rest of the year to deal with it. Holding up aid to hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana is no way to win people over to your concerns about debt.
Moreover, while Republican leaders got on board the hurricane relief bill – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even doubled the amount to $15 billion – Trump’s deal with Democrats should be seen as a wake-up call.
McConnell, in particular, has been completely unable and uninspired to move forward President Trump’s agenda of health care reform, tax reform and infrastructure improvements. No doubt as a result, McConnell is among the least popular politicians in America.
Worse yet, he appears for all the world to be as self-satisfied as ever.
We hope the hurricane relief/debt limit bill will shock congressional Republicans awake to what most of us already knew: We elected a deal maker last November who wants to get things done. Careerist congressional complacency isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Indeed, if the Trump-Democrat alliance isn’t enough to poke the fat-cat establishment class of GOP lawmakers with an electric cattle prod, this ought to be: In a new Rasmussen Poll, two-thirds of voters say Trump should work with Democrats to advance his agenda.
But here’s the shock GOP leaders really need: In that same poll, more Republicans than Democrats – 72 percent to 62 percent – are excited about Trump working with Democrats.
That’s a mutiny, folks. Led by Donald Trump and nearly three-quarters of Republican voters. They’re not angry at Democrat leaders; Republican voters never put any hope in them. They’re steaming mad at Republicans!
We recommend the president go out and rent one of those electric cattle prods for his next press conference. Maybe his party’s leaders will get the point then.