Kevin Hassett in the Washington Post:
“Now that Republicans are in the opposition, they’re going to be the most saintly budget hawks you can imagine,” said American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin A. Hassett. With the absence of power, he notes, comes the absence of accountability and blame. As Hassett put it, “being in the minority means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Let’s hope so…but already, things are looking good:
Fiscal conservatives started to agitate days after the election, when the Republican-led 109th Congress reconvened to wrap up unfinished business. At the top of the to-do list: nine remaining spending bills for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.
Few Republicans returned to Washington expecting to complete all the outstanding bills. But many wanted to pass at least a few, if only to show that the GOP wasn’t abrogating its governing duties. But several fiscal conservatives in the Senate saw an opportunity to take a stand against “earmarks,” the special projects that members from both parties had tucked inside the bills. The rebels announced their intention to block all spending bills from advancing — even one that financed veterans benefits and military housing.
“We need to examine the bills in the light of the last election, in which I think the American people were unhappy with our spending habits,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) explained to reporters. He and his allies, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), want Congress to pass a “continuing resolution” to extend funding from the previous fiscal year. “We’d save the taxpayers a lot of money,” Sessions said.