While the impeachment hearings attracted most of the news coverage on Capitol Hill this week, both the House and Senate agreed to a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December 20.
But while shutdown theater was avoided for another month, Congress is yet again failing to go through an orderly appropriations process, by which congressional committees go line by line through spending bills for each department of government.
In recent years, regardless of which party controls the House and Senate, members have funded the government through continuing resolutions that temporarily keep spending levels intact or by voting on giant take-it-or-leave-it omnibus bills that give members no chance to make changes. The omnibus bills invariably result in higher spending.
Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar says too often the Speaker of the House, whether Republican or Democrat, unilaterally decides what federal spending is going to look like.
“We have put way too much power into the hands of the speakers. We need to have a process that’s generated from the members from their different committees. The chairmen should be picked by members of the committees so they are beholden to the members, not beholden to leadership,” said Gosar, a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
On Thursday, before approving the continuing resolution, the U.S. Senate voted to table, or delay, Sen. Rand Paul’s push for the “Penny Plan,” which calls for eliminating one penny of each dollar in federal spending. More than half of Senate Republicans voted to put off consideration of the plan.
Gosar is not surprised.
“A lot is said when your leader actually says, ‘Nobody loses office by spending money,'” said Gosar, apparently referring to Senate Majority Leader Mich McConnell. “It shows people are not serious about the process here.”
Listen to the full podcast to hear more of Gosar’s ideas for returning to more responsible spending. He also explains why he believed Republicans lost the majority in the House of Representatives because of their unfulfilled promises and not because of President Trump.