Democrats: Hooked on a Ceiling

Democrats: Hooked on a Ceiling

September 23, 2021

Convincing America to go along with their enormous spending plan has been an uphill slog for Democrats, but that's only half of the struggle. The measure is laden with so many whacky policies now that even fellow party members are opposed to it. With the country careening toward a fiscal cliff and a government shutdown on the table, House and Senate leaders have a choice: They can tamp down their $3.5 trillion shopping spree, or Democrats can go it alone and face the consequences. Either way, putting America on the path to socialism is a pricy gamble -- in dollars and seats.

The legislative puzzle hasn't been an easy one for Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party to solve -- especially not with a growing political liability like Joe Biden at the helm. Desperate to pass her massive "human" infrastructure bill (where they've crammed Biden's entire domestic agenda, the NRO editors half-joke), they've hit a handful of roadblocks. For starters, moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) aren't comfortable piling the largest spending bill in history on top of the trillions of dollars America is already dishing out in COVID relief, unemployment checks, and stimulus programs. Like most people, they're not sure now is the time to add a massive social welfare bill on the mountain of debt our country is buried under.

Secondly, it's not a bill Democrats could pass without raising America's debt ceiling -- a move that Republicans refuse to support if it would only green light more Leftist spending. "We, as Republicans, are not going to be complicit in what they're doing here," Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) insisted on "Washington Watch." "It's like sending your kids to the mall with credit cards with no limits. We're not going to allow the Democrats to have Republicans join them in raising the debt ceiling in this outrageous, reckless spending spree they're on at the moment."

Adding to the drama, the annual funding for the government is scheduled to run out on September 30 -- which means that both parties have to come to some sort of agreement to keep the lights on through the end of the year. But unlike the infrastructure bill and debt ceiling increase -- which they can accomplish with a simple majority in the reconciliation process -- Democrats need the GOP's help with any continuing resolution to keep the government running. How much are they willing to give on their outrageous agenda to avoid a government shutdown? That's the $3.5 trillion dollar question.

Even if -- by some miracle -- they did strike a bargain with Republicans, there's still the looming problem of getting their own fractured caucus on board. The socialist wing of the House has already threatened to tank any deal that stands in the way of their government-funded child care, universal pre-K, "free" college, expanded Medicare, Green New Deal, and tax hikes. The Democratic leadership is in a jam, and something -- or someone -- will have to give. "Now in a challenging position as to which side she will ultimately give in to, Pelosi could doom her own party," Breitbart warns.

Of course, the party already seems determined to doom itself with its outrageous anti-Israel stance in the latest version of the continuing resolution. In a stunning move that proves just how radical the Democratic Party has become, the squad managed to strip out the funding for Israel's anti-missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome. It was a jaw-dropping play, even by this leadership's standards. As one House Democrat fumed, "A missile defense system like the Iron Dome defends civilians from missiles... [O]nly in a morally-inverted universe would this be considered a controversy."

And yet, those pulling the strings in the new Leftist-dominated Democratic Party are so hostile to Israel that they're willing to shut down the government to keep the Jewish State unprotected. "Stripping funding for Iron Dome only makes sense if the goal is to help Hamas become more efficient at killing civilians," Philip Klein argues. The fact that this is even a debate shows just how far the Democratic Party has shifted.

But Pelosi will have to draw a bright line on Israel if she wants to avoid a government shutdown. "They have to reinstate the Iron Dome funding," Daines insisted, or there's no deal. Either way, Democrats have the most to lose. According to polling, twice as many Americans would blame the president's party for a shutdown (33 percent) as Republicans (16 percent).

On the GOP side, there wasn't a whole lot of motivation for bailing out the Left to begin with. As Daines said, "If Washington Democrats want to jam through trillions of dollars in reckless spending all by themselves, they can raise the debt limit all by themselves." And own the consequences.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Entrance for Geese Only

September 23, 2021

It takes a lot to infuriate our Arctic neighbors, but the Biden administration makes it look easy. The U.S.-Canada border is closed to Canadians for another month, said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, although air travel restrictions were lifted for dozens of countries, including Canada. The northern border has been restricted to "essential travel" since March 2020.

Keeping the border closed hurts economies and friendships on both sides of the border, Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) explained. "We want to have them come into a place like Montana to do business for tourism dollars that helps our economy out." As temperatures drop and days shorten, many snowbirds probably wish they could sprout wings and fly south with the geese.

Secretary Mayorkas offered excuses, "We are looking primarily at the public health rationale, the fact that the arc of the delta variant is not yet where we need it to be." Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) responded that these non-answers were the "same responses we have gotten for weeks and months without anybody explaining to us the public health rationale." She added, "I do not understand the public health rationale here at all for closing the northern border to vehicular traffic when it is essentially open to air traffic."

On August 9, Canada opened the border to American citizens, but the U.S. has yet to reciprocate. Canada's vaccination rate passed America's this summer (it's now over 70 percent, said Daines). Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, have filed across the southern border at Del Rio, Texas. "The vaccination rate of the Haitians is less than 0.5 percent," said Daines. There is no widespread effort to vaccinate the migrants, despite the overwhelming safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

Theoretically, the southern border is just as closed as the northern one. But after President Biden halted President Trump's successful enforcement measures, 1.7 million migrants have crossed in a year. Recent footage shows migrants wading back and forth across the Rio Grande as if there were no border at all. In a visit to the border, Mayorkas attempted to dissuade more migrants from coming. "If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned, your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family's life," he said.

That's wrong, said the Associated Press (AP), writing, "accounts of wide-scale releases -- some observed in Del Rio by Associated Press journalists -- are at odds with statements Monday by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas." When will the Biden administration learn that wishing an outcome does not make it so? In fact, DHS is responsible for releasing into the interior of the United States all the migrants observed by the AP. One anonymous official said migrants were being released on a "very, very large scale" -- as in, thousands of them. Does Secretary Mayorkas not know what his agency is doing, or is he simply lying?

While migrants continue arriving, this week the camp population is down from 14,000 to about 8,600, as thousands were transferred elsewhere on the border, many were released, and 10 planeloads were deported to Haiti. (These flights so infuriated Biden's diplomat to Haiti that he quit.) The Biden administration has wasted money and time and has encouraged thousands of poor migrants to make a dangerous journey for nothing, but they seem to be wrestling the situation under control (apart from the migrants they are freely releasing into the country). Still, there is no "public health rationale" to housing thousands of unvaccinated migrants in tent cities while keeping out vaccinated Canadian citizens.

School Boards Chalk up New Victories on Woke Policies

September 23, 2021

Good news! More people are responding to the need to exercise oversight of public schools. The latest example: the Stafford County Board of Supervisors in Virginia voted to revoke funds used by the school to teach critical race theory and a prohibition on requiring students to identify their pronouns. Responding to a tip from a parent, supervisors gave clear guidelines to the school system, preventing expenditures on the 1619 Project or similar programs and disallowing over emphasis on preferred pronouns.

For those who are concerned about the direction of our country and the indoctrination that can happen in any school, trying to keep track of what happens in class is a big job for those outside the buildings. We applaud this creative effort to prevent tax dollars from being used to advance ideologies rooted in critical race theory or queer theory. As we outlined in our new publication A Concerned Citizen's Guide to Engaging in Public Schools, there are many pressures facing public schools. Because many parents with differing views simply leave the system, we take our worldview with us, leaving the public school under the influence of progressive groupthink.

As one parent put it at a recent school board meeting in Chesapeake, Va.: "My parental rights don't stop at the parking lot." That's true. Parents are the primary educators of their children. We can delegate that authority to others, but the responsibility is still owned by the parent who will answer before God for the children entrusted to our earthly care.

Accomack County, Va., has also resisted the pressure to adopt policies that could endanger students with gender dysphoria and all students. But it will be up to parents to ensure the school board holds firm.

According to news reports, chairman of the Accomack County School Board Paul Bull will assemble a team to consider the matter:

"Bull responded ... saying the board will address the issue again 'since it is the law.' The state requires all divisions to adopt a policy that aligns with that of the state. However, the state superintendent of education has said divisions will not face state repercussions for not adopting protections, but could face lawsuits from students and their families.

Bull said 'moving forward, procedures will accompany the policy to ensure the safety of all students. I feel that the 4/4/1(abstained) vote was due to lack of information regarding how we would address bathroom and locker room issues once the policy is adopted. This policy will be addressed at a later meeting after a team has been organized to address issues of concern,' Bull wrote in the email Wednesday." (emphasis added)

Accomack parents need to report for duty by being part of the "team" that will consider the matter. Contact your district representative to be engaged in the process. If Christians are not in the room when matters are discussed, our views are missing in action, and children suffer. Stafford County parents need to thank their Board of Supervisors for exercising their authority. Wherever you live or go to school, make your voice heard in local government. Engage, talk to your family and neighbors about these issues. The future of our nation depends on constructive civic engagement from people just like you!

Making Cents of America's Financial Picture

September 23, 2021

Don't miss Tony's conversation with Liberty University's Dave Brat, who breaks down the economic landscape in America -- and what kind of impact Joe Biden's policies will have on our children.