Congress is back from its August recess, the weeks-long period away from its always-contentious, mostly unproductive business.
The House and the Senate have about a week until the Sep. 30 deadline to pass a federal budget. On Oct. 1, a new fiscal year begins. If lawmakers cannot push through their spending bills, the nation will face a government shutdown.
With time short for congressional action, the more likely outcome, albeit a temporary one, is that lawmakers could pass a continuing resolution which would avert a shutdown and fund the government at its current levels until a mutually agreed upon date.
Some in the GOP caucus view shutdown threats, which would adversely affect only a small percentage of the population, as foolish saber-rattling. They suggest that a more urgent problem than a government services’ pause is the nation’s $2 trillion deficit and $33 trillion national debt.
Writing in “City Journal,” Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Nicole Gelinas in her article, “The Permanent Crisis Economy,” observed that during the administrations of Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden, Congress has approved record levels of deficit spending, paid not through tax collections but via Treasury debt.
"In 2007, the government owed $8.6 trillion in today’s dollars. As of the end of 2022, it owed more than triple that, $26.9 trillion, including $4.8 trillion in pandemic-era borrowing," Gelinas wrote. "Much of this was printed by the Fed: its balance sheet went from $1.3 trillion just before the financial crisis to a high of $8.9 trillion in 2022, as it conjured zeros on computer screens to buy Treasury debt, thus financing federal deficits.”
While Republicans are intent on cutting spending, a continuing resolution would also provide Congress with an opportunity to rein in the raging, unlawful border crisis, which is overwhelming major cities. including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Denver.
New York Mayor Eric Adams declared that the illegal alien surge into his city has the potential to destroy it. Adams’ prediction is dramatic, but spot on. The city, inconveniencing and displacing thousands of New York taxpayers who fund the invasion, is housing about 60,000 aliens in 200 sites, including more than 140 hotels.
At a press conference, the mayor did the math for his incredulous audience: “For each family seeking asylum through the city’s care, we spend an average of $383 per night to provide shelter, food, medical care and social services. With more than 57,300 individuals currently in our care, on an average night, it amounts to $9.8 million a day, almost $300 million a month, and nearly $3.6 billion a year.”
Adams ominously added that these costs represent the floor, not the ceiling of potentially higher costs. New York’s Democratic congressional caucus that includes the powerful Sen. Majority leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries have shown zero interest in border enforcement which would ease the ever-mounting pressure on Adams. Congressional Democrats to Adams: “Good luck. You’re on your own.”
For persons serious about ending the border crisis, now is the hour to use the upcoming spending battle to create meaningful border security and pro-American immigration reform. In May, the House passed H.R. 2, the Secure Border Act of 2023, which would end many of the immigration abuses that global migrants have unsurprisingly taken advantage of and that the Biden administration has fully encouraged.
Among many other positives, the bill would close asylum loopholes – the invasion’s main driver – and would mandate E-Verify which would protect American jobs. Other enforcement features include ending catch-and-release and parole abuse, while deporting visa overstays and tightening lax family unit and unaccompanied minors’ entry guidelines. The bill's most significant provisions, restoring credibility to asylum petitions and cutting the jobs’ magnet through E-Verify, would end the pull enticement that lures migrants.
The House, which holds the purse strings of Congress, has an opportunity to end the border insanity if it attaches its immigration bill to the must-pass continuing resolution.
“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,” said Herbert Stein, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
The border calamity has already lasted more than two years, way too long. Assuming the GOP can get its act together, their immigration bill can be the key to ending the sovereignty-destroying invasion.
Copyright 2023 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].