Congressional Republicans and Democrats actively colluded last week to spend even more of your money in Washington, D.C. in the omnibus funding bill. The swamp has declared war on taxpayers.

It is sickening to think that the Democrats got more spending out of a Republican Congress than they ever got under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s.

It happened because the Republican Leadership really does not want to change the rules; the elephants and donkeys can collude for Big Government and spend more money in a bipartisan way to “keep the government from shutting down”.

Remember: the Fiscal Year started October 1, 2017, and yet Congress is still negotiating measures to fund the government in a bill that is written in secret and decided by 10 people in DC.  Power is taken away from our elected representatives because the system is broken and biased towards increased spending every year.

Taxpayers should be wondering if any of our Texas Republicans will ever be bold enough to change the rules.

In the real world, families and businesses fix a mess after the first occurrence.  In Congress, they have been perpetuating a flawed budgeting system since they enacted the 1974 Budget Act.  Now, we have a deficit of over $21 trillion dollars so we must do something different.  Time to be bold.

Modeled after the well-intentioned but rarely used War Powers Act to reassert Congress’ Article I Powers over the President in matters of war, a bold member of Congress should proposes the Article I Appropriations Powers Act.

The War Powers Act recognized the Founding Father’s deliberate intentions for Congress to declare war, not the chief executive, It provided privileged and expedited floor consideration of any measure introduced in Congress invoking the War Powers Act.

In terms of spending the people’s money, the Founding Father’s wrote in Article I, Section 9: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law;”

Matters of war deserve the full attention of Congress and so does the appropriations process. An “Article 1 Powers” proposal could be modeled after the War Powers Act but it must be written in a separate way to demand up or down votes on 13 separate appropriations bills each year before October 1.

The funding of the government deserves the same privileged status in the House and Senate as War Powers Act resolutions.

Right now, members must make the following choice: Vote for more spending, or shut the government down. Either way, citizens lose.

An Article I Appropriations Powers Act changes that choice. To function correctly, such legislation would:

  1. Demand a vote on 13 standalone Appropriations bills on the House and Senate Floor;
  2. 10 calendar days after the House Appropriations Committee passes a spending measure, it becomes privileged and can be brought up for a floor vote at any time;
  3. All spending bills must pass the House before July 4th or members can offer privileged measures of their own;
  4. Once passed in the House, the spending measures become privileged after 20 calendar days in the Senate;
  5. All points of order against consideration are permanently waived under the rules and put in statute;
  6. Spending bills not enacted by October 1st will see their funding levels reduced by 1 percent every 15 calendar days not signed into law; and,
  7. Continuing Resolutions no longer will be used to keep the government open.  They will be abolished.

These are bold ideas deserving of a hearing by the new Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform.  Texans Pete Sessions and Jodey Arrington are two of four house members serving on the Select Committee.

Membership in the U.S. Congress is not a lifetime pass to join the Congressional Comfortable Caucus. To the entire Texas delegation: be bold and change the rules to control the federal leviathan… or turn in your Texas card.


Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."