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PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill, Trump’s Promise to Sign It

May 2, 2017

"Government debt is a millstone around the neck of American taxpayers, and if left unaddressed, it’ll be a noose." -Jesse Hathaway

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Congress this week is expected to vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government through September, and President Donald Trump said he would sign it. The bill contains few of the spending cuts the president announced earlier this year, including funding for Planned Parenthood, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which Trump promised to cut by about 30 percent, will get a slight increase in funding – including more for scientific research and clean energy programs. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, said this in March about funding EPA climate research: “We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.”

The following statements from public policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at media@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.


“In December 2016, lawmakers kicked the can down the road on a full appropriations bill, assuming that they’d be in a fiscally responsible mood later. Guess what? It’s ‘later,’ and lawmakers are setting aside more federal taxpayer money than ever. Washington lawmakers – from both parties – are still stuffing their fingers in their ears and humming to drown out the sound of the federal debt time bomb, ticking faster and louder with each second.

“President Trump’s ‘skinny budget’ outline has been completely ignored – for instance, the government is actually going to spend more taxpayer money on arts programs than before – but Trump has said he’d approve it, even though it accomplishes almost none of his campaign promises and accomplishes almost nothing Republican lawmakers said they’d do. Back on the campaign trail, Trump said: ‘We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.’ Did we get tired of winning already?

“Government debt is a millstone around the neck of American taxpayers, and if left unaddressed, it’ll be a noose. We’re running out of time to address serious problems, and this omnibus bill is five months of wasted time and lots of wasted money.”

Jesse Hathaway
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Budget & Tax News
jhathaway@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“Every time the government has been shut down, we have gotten a good result with less government spending. The Republicans need to shut it down and take their case to the American people.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
pferrara@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“This spending bill is a big disappointment for those of us wanting to start putting our bloated, slow-growing welfare state on a needed diet. To be sure, the Republicans have limited leverage and were not willing to face the political fallout of a shutdown. But if not now, when?”

Richard Vedder
Professor of Economics Ohio University
Policy Advisor, Economics
The Heartland Institute
vedder@ohio.edu
312/377-4000


“The $1.1 trillion spending bill agreed upon by Congress represents one undeniable fact about Washington, DC politics: Even with Republicans in charge of both the legislative and executive branches, Big Government spending goes on as usual. None of the cuts in discretionary domestic spending proposed in Trump’s ‘Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again’ will be introduced. Nor will federal subsidization for health insurance companies under Obamacare see any reduction or repeal. Federal funding for Planned Parenthood will continue, as will taxpayers’ dollars for a variety of other domestic programs usually challenged by conservatives and Republicans as either unnecessary, undesirable, or beyond the constitutional authority of the federal government.

“Some Democratic leaders in Congress have concluded that they have ‘won,’able to stymie any significant repeals or reductions in the interventionist welfare state between now and the 2018 elections. And many in the Republican Party are clearly so terrified of being harangued by organized leftists at town hall meetings back home, that they would rather ‘cave in’ than risk losing their congressional seats in the next round of elections. The implicit Republican mantra that is buzzing in their heads is, obviously, ‘go along to get along’ with the modern American entitlement state – even if it means another abandonment of any intention to ever act on the small-government rhetoric they normally feed their constituents on the campaign trails.”

Dr. Richard Ebeling
Professor of Economics
Northwood University
ebelingr@northwood.edu
312/377-4000


“Republicans in Congress continue to disappoint as they demonstrate that rhetoric on the campaign trail was just that, rhetoric. This is exactly the kind of ‘all talk, no action’ that propelled Trump to the presidency. And if it continues, it could be the undoing of members of Congress who refuse to walk the walk when it comes to limiting government.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute
iorr@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“It took Republicans to pass a budget bill that out-liberaled the liberal Democrats – who are not just cheering, they are laughing.

“For years Republicans, who claim to be the party of small government, have claimed if only they were in power and had the presidency, they’d defund Planned Parenthood, cut the budget significantly, and get rid of non-core programs like the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now they have the reins of power they’ve craved, and they spend more than Democrats. This is happening in state houses, too; where, for example, Republicans are passing hikes in gas taxes. It took Republicans in the states to pass gas tax increases when they fought such increases for years when the Democrats ran things. Nothing on the ground has changed; higher taxes still hurt consumers and businesses. The only thing that has changed is Republicans are now running the show, and they think they know better than the American people how their money should be spent.

“Die-hard Republican voters are like Charlie Brown, and the leadership is like Lucy. She tells them: ‘Try to kick the ball (vote us in) one more time, Charlie Brown (voters). This time we won’t pull it away (betray you and vote to tax and spend again).’ Just like Charlie Brown, Republican voters buy the argument every time. And just like Lucy, the leadership lies.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
hburnett@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“The congressional action on spending can only be regarded as a disappointment. It only underscores the coming difficulties in truly controlling spending, reducing the size and scope of the federal government, and addressing the long-term budget deficits we face. Capping discretionary spending – coupled with robust economic growth at 4 percent per annum, a rate experts say is achievable – is our only path forward for the economy and fiscal health.

“To achieve robust economic growth, we need the development of all U.S. oil, natural gas, and coal reserves. This would bring about domestic energy independence and global energy dominance – as well as create high-paying industrial jobs and increasing tax revenues, both necessary for national success and our country’s future.”

Fred Palmer
Senior Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
fpalmer@heartland.org
312/377-4000


“Why we are letting the Democrats write the budget this year? This makes no sense. Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House and still cannot pass a Republican, much less a conservative, agenda that would put the country on the right track. “The promises made by Republicans in Washington got them elected and yet they continue to ignore the people who put them in control. The DC swamp is really starting to reek. It is time to get the job done or we will not make America great again.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
governmentrelations@heartland.org
312/377-4000

Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.


“This is an asinine approach to improving our country. Instead of getting along with the other side, this administration needs to stay focused on objectives that will get our country back on the right track after President Obama put us on the track for disaster.”

Walter Cunningham
Apollo 7 astronaut and author
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
walt@waltercunningham.com
312/377-4000


“Defenders of this spending bill are deluded or establishment swamp dwellers. Trump loses his base by backing this bill. Where is Steve Bannon? It is simply not persuasive to argue that this somehow clears the decks for more important legislation, such as the ‘repeal and replacement of Obamacare,’ and ‘tax reform.’ In the end, the swamp will overwhelm a weakened Trump on these issues as well.

“It is pretty clear that tough-talking Trump is viewed as hot-air Trump by the partying progressives. Political capital has to be used before it passes its freshness date stamp, if the laughing is to be quelled.”

Christopher Garbacz
Consultant
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
mailto:c.garbacz@psc.state.ms.us
312/377-4000


“President Trump’s lack of willingness to combat runaway government spending should come as a surprise to no one. His Keynesian-leaning perspective on the role of government in doling out taxpayer dollars is consistent with his campaign promises to hold the line on cuts to social programs while spending even more on infrastructure projects.”

Jack A. Chambless
Economics Professor, Valencia College
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
jchambless@valenciacollege.edu
312/377-4000


“I’ve been under the false impression that Republicans won the last election. The spending bill is not just different, it is exactly opposite to Trump’s promises: more immigrants, more money for Planned Parenthood and worthless ‘national endowments.’ A bill that funds Planned Parenthood, but not the border wall, is a disgrace to Republican leadership in Congress. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the agreement reflects the principles of his party. He is right. It does not, however, reflects the principles of the Republican Party!”

Yuri N. Maltsev, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
A.W. Clausen Center for World Business
Carthage College
ymaltsev@carthage.edu
312/377-4000


“At least we climate skeptics had Trump’s proposed budget to marvel over for a while, with its awesome re-prioritizing of EPA funding. But alas, that was just a big show. President Trump had better realize quickly that his first year in office is his best chance to move on his priorities and promises. It will not get any easier. Climate activists are now breathing a huge sigh of relief and are very pleased with this current budget.

“We have to ask, if we cannot achieve any kind of budgetary change with a Republican Congress and a new Republican president, when can we? Hopefully this business-as-usual budget is just a starting-gate stumble for President Trump, and he will soon right the course very quickly.”

Marc Morano
Publisher
Climate Depot
morano@climatedepot.com
312/377-4000


“Before first winning a minority government in 2006, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to get to the bottom of the climate change file and handle the issue properly. Like President Donald Trump, Harper did not believe that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities were causing a climate crisis. In a 2002 fundraising letter, Harper called the U.N. climate process ‘a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations’ – very much the same as did Trump during the election campaign.

“Yet, after securing power, Harper completely changed sides in the debate. In a futile attempt to mollify his opponents, he made emission reduction pledges Canada had no chance of keeping, while wasting billions of dollars on useless global warming projects.

“Despite campaigning against the scare, Trump has said he will sign the latest spending bill, even though virtually all of the funding for EPA, an agency which dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars to the climate scare, is retained. Americans should be concerned that Trump is about to copy Harper’s post-election conversion to climate alarmism.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute
tom.harris@climatescienceinternational.net
312/377-4000

Article Tags
Government Spending Taxes
Author
Jesse Hathaway is the managing editor of Budget & Tax News, a publication of The Heartland Institute.
jhathaway@heartland.org @JesseinOH
Author
Peter Ferrara is the senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute and a senior fellow at the Social Security Institute.
pferrara@heartland.org
Author
Richard K. Vedder is a policy advisor on economics to The Heartland Institute.
vedder@ohio.edu
Author
Dr. Richard M. Ebeling is the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel.
rebeling@citadel.edu
Author
Isaac Orr is a research fellow for energy and environment policy at The Heartland Institute. Orr is a speaker, researcher, and writer specializing in hydraulic fracturing, frac sand mining, agricultural, and environmental policy issues.
iorr@heartland.org
Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org
Author
Frederick D. Palmer is a senior fellow for energy and climate at The Heartland Institute.
fpalmer@heartland.org
Author
Bette Grande is a research fellow for energy and pension issues at The Heartland Institute. Prior to coming to Heartland, she served as a North Dakota state representative from 1996–2014, representing the 41st district.
governmentrelations@heartland.org @BetteGrande
Author
Walter Cunningham is best known as pilot of Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the Apollo Program to land a man on the Moon. He is a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot with the rank of colonel and 4,500 hours pilot time.
walt@waltercunningham.com
Author
Christopher Garbacz is Director, Economics & Planning at the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
cgarbox@gmail.com
Author
Professor Yuri Maltsev earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Moscow State University, and his Ph.D. in Labor Economics at the Institute of Labor Research in Moscow, Russia.
ymaltsev@carthage.edu
Author
Marc Morano is the publisher of the award-winning ClimateDepot.com, a global warming and eco-news center founded in 2009. Morano was named one of only five “criminals against humanity, against planet Earth itself” in 2009 by the eco-magazine Grist.
Morano@ClimateDepot.com
Author
Tom Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition
tom.harris@climatescienceinternational.net @TomHarrisICSC

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