It was just a matter of time before our ideologically flexible president started making deals across the aisle. The result is a $15 billion Harvey relief package that includes short-term debt ceiling and government funding increases, along with the promise of a messy end-of-year negotiation process.
President Donald Trump most likely equates making deals with getting things done. But all deals aren’t created equal, and for anyone who believes in fiscal responsibility, this deal, which passed the House and the Senate in spite of many disgruntled members, was particularly lousy.
First, considering our $20 trillion debt, the only acceptable deal would have been one that included a long-term extension of the debt ceiling in exchange for placing fiscal constraints on spending growth. Instead, the president’s deal extends fiscal uncertainty and debt ceiling drama to December.
The timing is also awful. The need to raise the debt ceiling will coincide once again with the fiscal crunch of budget negotiation. That will inevitably reinforce the belief that Republicans can’t govern and will lead to more debt and spending. Many Republicans who want to demand budget caps in exchange for raising the debt ceiling will feel they can’t press for them unless they’re willing to risk a government shutdown. Others who want a smaller funding bill will go along with more spending to avoid a government default.
That is why Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, House Freedom Caucus member and former chairman, has already said the caucus will ask party leadership to extract the next debt ceiling debate from the broader budget negotiations. Caucus members will also demand a plan that provides unilateral authority for the debt ceiling to be raised only if Congress sticks to spending caps as a share of gross domestic product that will be…