May 16, 2022

Republicans can force votes on border wall funding and defund vaccine mandates in continuing resolution, debt ceiling and omnibus

Sen. Mitch McConnell has the perfect opportunity to lay out the Republican 2022 agenda to the American people by pushing for up or down votes on finishing the border wall, and on defunding President Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine employer mandates.

By Robert Romano

Congress is set to vote on yet another continuing resolution, debt ceiling legislation that will likely put the expiration of spending and borrowing authority into the first weeks of 2022, reports RollCall.com’sPaul M. Krawzak and Jennifer Shutt.

With the Senate evenly divided 50 to 50, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) needs a minimum of ten Senate Republicans to vote both to proceed to and end debate for any continuing resolution, debt ceiling bill or year-end, bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill that comes up at the end of the year. That simple fact is guidingbudget negotiations.

What it means is that Senate Minority Leader (R-Ky.) need not give up any major concessions in the year-end budget negotiations, since the alternative of continuing resolutions would freeze spending at current levels and lock in another year of the budget priorities from Fiscal Year 2021 that were set forth by former President Donald Trump late last year.

Meaning, if Schumer wants to get a new set of funding levels for discretionary spending, he has to give McConnell what he wants in order for ten Republicans to vote for it to pass.

Why? Because other than a paper tiger threats by Democrats to default or shut down the government, Biden and Schumer really have no leverage to force Republicans to vote for a bad deal, lacking the numbers to push for a partisan funding bill.

Would Biden and Schumer really orchestrate the first ever default in U.S. history as some sort of way to punish Republicans on Capitol Hill? The economy and Democrats would take the political hit. There’s no leverage there.

That is why this would be a perfect opportunity for McConnell to lay out the Republican 2022 agenda to the American people by, for example, pushing for up or down votes on finishing the border wall and also on defunding President Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine employer mandates, and other items.

These are issues of vital concern to Republicans in the runup to the 2022 midterms, with hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants swarming the southern border under Biden’s lax enforcement regime, and federal courts blocking Biden’s vaccine mandates. Those are tough votes for Democrats.

In the very least, if these items are going to come up for votes, then Republicans should at least be allowed to offer amendments.

And then, if a compromise cannot be reached, besides freezing discretionary spending, if Republicans opt to keep passing continuing resolutions, they could also lock in important past policy riders that are included in the annual appropriations bills including the omnibus signed by Trump last year.

For example, the last omnibus bill that passed includes bipartisan policy riders on defunding the Department of Housing and Urban Development from making local zoning decisions in the execution of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and its successor regulations, or defunding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from issuing any regulation that attempts to regulate political activities by 501(c)(4) organizations.

Biden and Schumer want those things out, but without a new omnibus, continuing resolutions could carry them all the way through 2022. That’s what gives McConnell leverage to offer up alternatives with tough votes for vulnerable Democrats — and exact a political price for Biden and Schumer’s profligate spending.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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