11.04.2015 2

Ryan promises to exercise the power of the purse

PaulRyanBy Robert Romano

“We fully expect we’re going to exercise that power.”

That was House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday promising to use Congress’ constitutional power of the purse to include policy riders that will defund aspects of the Obama agenda in an upcoming omnibus spending bill in December.

It was a seeming response to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who in an interview with the Washington Post published Monday promised, “There’s a decent chance the government will shut down over one of these riders but [Republicans will] lose. And we’ve agreed: Nancy [Pelosi], Harry [Reid], the president, we’re locking arms on no poison pill riders.”

The war of words sets the stage for a December showdown over funding the government. For Democrats, it represents a high stakes game. For, which riders are off the table, specifically?

The Washington Post outlined a litany of past, high profile attempts by Republicans to rein in Obama that Democrats promise to stop now: “Democrats are now firing warning shots that they will stay united to prevent Republicans from attaching such riders to the omnibus that could seek to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood or dismantle some of President Obama’s top priorities, including Obamacare, new environmental rules and executive actions on immigration.”

So, if you’re Paul Ryan, perhaps these are the first things to lay on the table. Make the fight, at least initially, exactly as the Washington Post describes. Say it’s over defunding Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, new environmental rules and executive immigration amnesty.

All the while, Ryan could add hundreds of other policy riders affecting a full range of little known Obama initiatives stretching across numerous departments and agencies.

When negotiations for the Fiscal Year 2015 so-called “Cromnibus” commenced between House and Senate negotiators, according to top Capitol Hill sources, Democrats had hundreds of appropriations riders to attach, but Republicans had less than 10. This, despite passage by the House of 7 appropriations bills including 215 spending amendments in 2014 that could have been the subject of negotiations between the House and the Senate.

In the meantime, when one looks at past Democrat appropriations bills with a Republican president, it was hard to turn a page without finding some section denying funds for this, that, and the other thing.

For example this continuing resolution enacted in Oct. 1984 included about 150 instances of the words “none of the funds”. Meaning, none of the funds shall be used to, you name it. That was directed at a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, and even occurred with Republicans owning a Senate majority.

Obama has neither chamber of Congress. Why should he be immune? Defund him. Consider it a going away present.

If House Republicans just combined the most important riders they have included in the past two fiscal years of appropriations bills, including those that made it into the Cromnibus and the partial Fiscal Year 2016 continuing resolution, Democrats could not veto away every single one of them.

Sure, they might stop defunding Planned Parenthood, or Obamacare or executive amnesty on immigration, but they can’t stop everything.

We fully expect Speaker Ryan will exercise the power of the purse.

The question is how far he willing to go to defend liberty and limit the size and scope of government. This could be Paul Ryan’s finest hour.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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