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Government spending

July 24, 2021

What We’re Standing For

What We’re Standing For

Reining in government spending

Quick summary: Lawmakers are about to face a reckoning with their mammoth spending. As our national debt approaches $30,000,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 13 zeros), Democrats are pushing to spend trillions more. It’s past time for both parties to slam the brakes on runaway spending. 

What’s happening? In 2019, Congress suspended the debt ceiling for two years. The suspension expires on July 31, forcing lawmakers to account for the trillions they spent during the pandemic. If Congress delays the decision, the government could run out of money by October and risk defaulting on our debt for the first time in American history. 

What is the debt ceiling? A limit on how much money the federal government can borrow to pay for the programs it has already promised to fund—like Social Security, Medicare, and the military. The debt ceiling is supposed to keep deficit spending in check by making lawmakers set a cap on how much money they can borrow. 

What happens when Congress reaches the debt ceiling? Lawmakers must vote to either increase the ceiling (to match the spending bills they passed) or suspend it again. 

What’s the problem? We’re already in a debt crisis. Suspending the debt ceiling just kicks the can down the road, allowing lawmakers to spend with abandon and deal with the consequences later. Case in point: The debt ceiling was set at $22 trillion before Congress suspended it in 2019. During the two-year suspension, lawmakers barreled through the ceiling and spent close to $10 trillion. Now, the national debt tops $28 trillion—roughly $255,000 per household—and Congress must choose between raising the ceiling, suspending it again, or slashing funding for federal programs. 

Of course, President Joe Biden doesn’t want to make any spending cuts. His team urged Congress to “raise or suspend the debt limit as soon as possible,” as he pushes to spend trillions more. The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl points out that Democrats are on target to increase the debt by another $8 trillion through their massive spending proposals. This means Americans would owe a startling $43 trillion within a decade—higher than the debt following World War II. It’s no wonder Republicans are balking at Democrats’ debt ceiling plans.

What are Republicans doing? Tackling the spending problem head-on. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) called on all conservatives to reject another debt limit suspension and refuse to increase it until Congress promises to cut federal spending. As Rep. Banks says:

“Given the worsening fiscal outlook for the federal government and at least three and a half more years of President Biden proposing trillions and trillions of dollars of deficit-financed spending, it is more important than ever for conservatives to reclaim the debt limit as a tool to highlight and force action on our nation’s spending problem.” – Rep. Jim Banks

Our take: Lawmakers are sitting in a mess of their own making. Suspending or even increasing the debt limit merely delays the inevitable question: How will we pay for the massive bill? Answer: Tax increases on all Americans, especially the middle class. From every angle, it’s the American people who lose out.  

→ Read more: Trillions and trillions (The Dispatch)

→ Read more: House Republicans prep debt limit fight to ‘force action on our nation’s spending problem’ (Fox News)

Abuse of American generosity

Quick summary: President Joe Biden is letting other countries take advantage of America in the fight against COVID-19. Kowtowing to Communist China and corrupt international organizations won’t help the world combat the virus. It will only hurt American innovators, waste taxpayer dollars, and weaken America globally.  

What’s happening? Two things:

1.The Biden administration is letting China profit off of the pandemic it created. The United States promised to donate $4 billion and 555 million coronavirus vaccines to Covax—the World Health Organization (WHO)-backed initiative to distribute vaccines across the globe. What is China doing? Selfishly demanding Covax pay for its Chinese vaccines instead of donating them. What’s worse, Covax agreed to buy half a billion doses from China. This means the United States is substantially supporting an effort that’s about to funnel money to China.

It gets worse: Reports show Chinese vaccines are so ineffective, they may be contributing to COVID surges

How is Biden responding? He’s not. His administration said the United States is “deeply disappointed” in China’s failure to support Covax, but it hasn’t tried to stop the WHO and its Covax partners from buying Beijing’s vaccines. It also hasn’t held up U.S. funding to the program.

2.The Biden administration might give the green light for other countries to effectively steal data from America’s vaccine developers. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is trying to force American pharmaceutical companies to hand over their coronavirus vaccine information. Why? The WTO claims removing vaccine patent protections will help other countries make vaccines on their own. WTO officials are still hammering out the details of their plot, but Biden endorsed the idea in May.

What’s the problem? First, this move would unfairly penalize American innovators and stifle future breakthroughs. American companies created effective vaccines in record time because they applied their expertise and invested billions of dollars. Without the promise of patent protection, companies won’t assume the risk needed to develop new medical technologies and therapies.

Second, handing over America’s vaccine data would eliminate our biotech edge and make the U.S. and the world more dependent on other countries—like China—for their drugs. Lastly, this move could actually hinder effective vaccination, because many countries lack the facilities, resources, and knowledge to safely make advanced vaccines like ours. 

What are Republicans doing? Urging Biden to do the right thing. In May, GOP House members from the House Judiciary Committee—including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Darrell Issa (R-CA)—warned the Biden administration not to give away America’s vaccine secrets: “The waiver would undermine the very innovation that has led to the record-breaking rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines already saving lives around the world, and it would not meaningfully improve vaccine availability.” 

Our take: Americans are generous. That’s a good thing. But Biden should never let other countries or entities exploit our country’s generosity—especially when it undermines American interests and strengthens our enemies.

→ Read more: Waiving IP protection for COVID vaccines is anti-innovation and anti-public health (National Review)

→ Read more: Stop legitimizing China’s corrupt regime (Washington Examiner)