Republicans Get One More Chance to Do the Right Thing

Republicans Get One More Chance to Do the Right Thing

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

The last time Republicans lived up to their reputation for sound fiscal policy was almost 30 years ago. In March 1995, Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican House caucus, to the jeers of skeptics, resolved to balance the federal budget within seven years. They did it in four.

Yet ever since, Republicans have provided slight protection against the unending torrent of Democrat spending schemes. They talk a brave game of cutting when out of power but are mostly unable to curb their political urge to spend when they have the authority.

Consequently, the national debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion under the inattentive George W. Bush. Candidate Donald Trump in 2016 promised to pay down the debt completely over eight years. Sure. In just four years, the debt surged by $7.8 trillion, a 36% hike.

We’ve all seen the drill. Create an emergency spending need where none exists (climate change) or which could better be addressed in a more measured way (COVID), exaggerate the danger, create panic, open the spigot, take credit.

$4.1 trillion in new spending during the Biden years for these created “emergencies” have put Americans in extremely dangerous fiscal territory. The voters this time gave House Republicans one more chance to redeem themselves. Now the stakes are higher than ever, and the pressure is on.

The early rhetoric was promising. However, vows to “curb wasteful government spending” were followed by…reinstatement of earmarks. Those little pieces of unvetted local pork slipped into spending bills to benefit individual legislators. What a crushing disappointment.

Republicans swore off earmarks in 2011. But when a Democrat Congress brought them back in 2021, 120 Republicans partook, scooping up $5 billion for their own Bridges to Nowhere. A motion this year to disallow earmarks was overwhelmingly defeated in the Republican caucus.

15 conservative policy groups cautioned Republicans that “earmarks are one of the most corrupt, inequitable and wasteful practices in the history of Congress.” Each congressman earns his little cookie by supporting all of his colleagues’ polite graft.

Yet GOP appropriators claimed earmarks were their “constitutional duty” and actually help to control spending! What a crock.

The Republican face plant over a matter so obviously wrong gives fiscal conservatives the sinking feeling that they may not be up to the fight. Candidates barely mentioned the deficit/debt during the last election, in contrast to previous campaigns. What fiscal crisis?

Instead, Americans have been conditioned by their politicians to believe that no wants should be unmet, that we “deserve” lavish government benefits unyoked to effort, that thorny political issues from illegal immigration to educational failure can be solved by simply spending more, and that any fiscal consequences can be safely kicked down the road.

Republicans aren’t going to dig out of this hole any time soon. But they can start the process by doing the right thing right now.

As this is written, Republicans are negotiating an omnibus budget bill of nearly $2 trillion. The leadership has known for nine months this must be completed by year’s end, but once again thoughtful, thorough budgeting has given way to a 4,155-page bill delivered at 1:30 AM to legislators who can’t possibly understand its provisions.

The bill contains no program cuts, but instead a mix of mandatory spending, outrageous pork like LGBTQ “Pride Centers,” and a specific prohibition against funding for border security. Lawmakers must approve the bill now or, in the case of Republicans, be held liable for the dreaded government shutdown.

But economist Steve Moore has a better idea. Republicans only need to refuse to waive provisions of the 2010 Pay-As-You-Go Act. PAYGO has been routinely suspended in recent years, but just 41 of 50 senators refusing this time would result in $130 billion in mandatory “sequester” cuts, just 5% of the Biden spending splurge.

Alternately, Congress could cancel the $80 billion for 87,000 new IRS agents, take back $500 billion in unspent COVID funding, and/or scale back the “Green New Deal” subsidies, a relatively painless way to uphold the PAYGO rules.

Congressional Republicans will never have a better opportunity to begin the return to responsible governance. If they don’t have the will now, when will they?

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

Newt Gingrich Commended Governor Ducey on School Choice Program to Offset Remote Learning

Newt Gingrich Commended Governor Ducey on School Choice Program to Offset Remote Learning

By Corinne Murdock |

Former House Speaker and conservative pundit Newt Gingrich complimented Governor Doug Ducey for his leadership tactics concerning COVID-19 and K-12 schools. 

The governor announced that families may receive up to $7,000 to receive the education of their choice if their child’s school decides to cease in-person learning due to COVID-19. Ducey allocated $10 million to what he called a “preemptive action” program: the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit.

“Governor Ducey’s announcement that Arizona will give the education money to parents if their school is closed is the most creative response yet to the teachers union putting children last,” wrote Gingrich. “Chicago should follow his lead.”

Gingrich’s tweet referred to the decision by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Tuesday night to return to remote learning. A day later, hours after Gingrich’s tweet, Mayor Lori Lightfoot appeared in a press conference to reemphasize the importance of in-person education. Lightfoot had pushed for school reopenings throughout 2021 in a constant battle with the CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS). 

As Ducey made his media rounds to discuss his program, he submitted an opinion piece with the Wall Street Journal criticizing the CTU, CPS, and Lightfoot’s administration the day after her press conference. Ducey challenged President Joe Biden to take a stand on school closures as well.

“Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot is unhappy, correctly noting that Chicago’s classrooms are safe and accusing the union of an ‘illegal work stoppage.’ She added that teachers who didn’t show up Wednesday would be put on no-pay status. We’ll see how long that lasts given how powerful the CTU is in Democratic politics,” wrote Ducey. “As for Mr. Biden, whose side is he on? The students whom he says will be safe in class according to all of the science? Or the unions who backed him politically but are doing terrible harm to America’s school children, including 330,000 of them in Chicago this week? How about leading for a change, Mr. President?”

Ducey’s program was prompted by teachers unions’ efforts to close in-person schooling, having children return from the holidays to remote learning for two weeks minimum. Ducey accused unions of disregarding children’s welfare for a political game.

On Thursday, the governor further claimed that his $10 million program would be “kryptonite” to teachers unions. He dismissed the activists as those opposed to science and challenged their true intentions.

“These unions are playing games with our children’s education. They aren’t following the science. Experts agree that kids should be in the classroom,” stated Ducey. “Our kids cannot afford any more time away from the classroom. Arizona children are in school and they’re going to stay in their classrooms. […] Kids need to get caught up. There’s too much focus on masks, and not enough on math. Arizona is showing the way to keep kids in school.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to