President Reagan used to say that Congress spent money like drunken sailors. But he would always apologize to drunken sailors because at least they spent their own money.
Well, there Congress goes again. They’re spending over $100 billion on 198 programs that Congress itself did not authorize.
It works like this: Congress passes an authorization bill which says how much money should be spent and how. Then Congress passes appropriation bills to actually release the funds from the Treasury to “cut the check.” If a program isn’t authorized then Congress has not approved it. Yet, the appropriations committee writes legislation to fund programs that Congress didn’t authorize. And the Rules Committee has a rule under which congressmen cannot object to this unauthorized spending.
A rule against objecting to breaking the rules. Only in Washington!
Who found this little trick and brought it to light? A crusty, old careerist who knows where all the bodies are buried?
Well, no. A freshman, first-termer, Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado. A guy pledged to serve no more than three terms in Washington. This new kid on the block got 13 other congressmen to sign a letter to the Rules Committee criticizing this practice and urging the Rules Committee not to block objections to this unauthorized spending.
P.J. O’Rourke once said: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” At least we know that not everyone in Congress is drunk with power.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.