Dems yearn for days of GOP deficit hawks

Dems yearn for days of GOP deficit hawks
© Greg Nash
House Democratic leaders are wondering if the Republican deficit hawk has gone extinct. 
 
When President Obama was in office, GOP leaders skewered the Democrats for what they deemed profligate spending, depicting soaring post-recession deficits as a grave threat to the nation’s economy and riding a public backlash that helped them win the House in a 2010 landslide. 
 
But this week, Republicans in both chambers passed a budget bill that sets the stage for tax reforms allowing $1.5 trillion to be added to the debt over the next decade. The Republicans’ fiscal flip-flop has not been overlooked by Democrats, who contend the GOP has lost its moral authority to protest deficit spending moving forward.
 
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“I never want to hear Republicans complain about deficits ever again,” Rep. Linda Sánchez (Cailf.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Thursday after the House passed the budget bill by a slim 216-212 margin.  
 
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) launched similar charges of hypocrisy this week, wondering “how anybody who says they're a fiscal conservative votes for this [budget].”
 
“These are guys who say they won't vote for anything that doesn't balance the budget or bring the debt down,” he told reporters in the Capitol.  
 
And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) characterized the Republicans’ budget as “a tragedy,” predicting Republicans will use the resulting revenue losses as an excuse to cut entitlements and other domestic programs largely benefiting lower- and middle-income Americans.
 
“This morning was transformative because the amount of money, the trillions of dollars that they increased the debt, is very hard to come back from,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. 
 
“Because they take this so deeply into debt … it will necessitate a trillion dollars being cut out of Medicaid, and that's part of their plan.”
 
Originating in the Senate, the Republicans’ 2018 budget blueprint authorizes $1.1 trillion to fund the federal government, carved up between defense programs, non-defense discretionary spending, disaster aid and other federal obligations. The resolution veers from the budget passed by the House earlier in the month, which included hundreds of billions of dollars in entitlement cuts and other provisions to limit the increase in deficit spending. 
 
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Many Republicans said they preferred the House version, but backed the Senate bill due to pressures on the party to enact tax reform this year. The Senate budget includes procedural language enabling Senate Republicans to pass a tax bill with a simple majority. 
 
“Tax reform will help reignite the American dream,” Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters on Thursday, minutes after the vote. “It will help bring us back to a place of confidence, freedom, happiness, a stronger, healthier economy. And this budget that the House just passed … brings us closer to making that dream a reality.”
 
Yet some conservatives on and off Capitol Hill scoffed at the notion that Republicans would champion deficit spending after years spent lambasting Democrats for piling hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. 
 
 
“Conservative leaders would have slammed this Big-Government Budget under Pres. Obama. Now, they demand Republicans in Congress vote for it.”
 
GOP leaders are expected to unveil their long-awaited tax reform package next week.