CORTES: McCarthy’s Latest Win Is Not Everything Conservatives Want, But It’s A Great Start

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Steve Cortes Contributor
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Conservatives should welcome the deal that the GOP House negotiated against an obstinate Biden Administration. Is the package everything we want on the Right? No. But it represents tangible success and a key starting marker for fiscal sanity in Washington. Plus, it provides a key starting point toward earning control of all three levers of fiscal power in the 2024 elections: House, Senate, and White House. 

During 2021 and 2022, Joe Biden wielded nearly unchecked sway over the US economy. The results produced misery for America. Despite the fake news narratives promoted by the corporate media, America’s economy slides into shambles due woeful mismanagement of Biden and his gang of fellow-traveler radical Washington Democrats. 

For example, a stunning 70% of Americans report that the American economy is getting worse for their family. A key read of manufacturing in America, the ISM Purchasing Managers Index, has now spent six straight months in contractionary recession territory (below 50), for the first time since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09. 

Consider that reality? Per this widely watched economic barometer of production in America, the present persistent quagmire is worse than during the lockdowns of 2020.

This present-day slide into economic misery for working-class Americans demoralizes the long-term outlook of our citizens, as well. A staggering 78% of Americans now predict that their children will not live a better life than they did. This depressed outlook hits the worst mark ever, in a University of Chicago survey that goes back over three decades.

But now, in 2023 with Republicans in charge of the US House, a new economic day begins. 

To lift the outlooks of dispirited Americans and to materially improve their financial well-being, Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the House Republicans took debt limit negotiations to the brink with the Biden team. By drawing a fiscal line in the sand, McCarthy begins the process of fiscal realism. 

After years of reckless and profligate spending, our country now gets started on the tough road ahead to restore fiscal responsibility and to restrain Biden’s runaway inflation. 

Before getting to the material wins of the negotiated deal, consider that the Democrats got NONE of the aggressive leftist policies they pursued. Zero. Not one. No new taxes for the Squad, no further regulatory creep for the abusive federal agencies, and no more expansion of the leviathan administrative state that was advanced by the horrendous Dec. 2022 Omnibus. That monstrosity passed, of course, just before Kevin McCarthy took the speaker’s gavel away from Nancy Pelosi.

This new framework represents an “anti-Omnibus,” of sorts. For example, on the GOP side, real wins abound, such as the claw back of tens of billions of dollars of unspent Covid allocations. This recapture of borrowed money not only saves taxpayers in the near term, but it also helps to stem the pernicious tide of inflation that was unleashed by exactly this kind of exorbitant borrowing and spending. 

Even more remarkably, McCarthy realized actual cuts in non-defense discretionary spending as part of a debt-limit negotiation. Those outlays will be cut, year-over-year, to 2022 levels, excluding Veterans medical care. Historically, even when the GOP exerted control over all three bodies, debt limit raises always accompanied spending increases. But not now.

Moreover, this deal forces Biden to begin student loan repayments again, saving taxpayers an estimated $5 billion per month. The agreement also slashes $400 million in taxpayer funds from the CDC’s “Global Health Fund” that sent money to China and to globalist bureaucracies. 

Crucially, these cuts and safeguards do not arrive at the expense of America’s seniors or veterans, though. Social Security, Medicare, and the VA are all protected. 

Understandably, many on the political Right want more. But two aspects of this deal make sense, for now. First, a president as radical and reckless as Biden would willingly choose to send America into dangerous debt default. An administration so radical that it willfully throws open our border … is certainly careless enough to refuse to prioritize debt payments. The consequences of such a default would hammer already struggling citizens. Second, this deal represents only the beginning of a long road ahead to reclaim American prosperity. The real advancement will unfold once we dominate 2024 elections and earn control of the Senate and White House, in addition to expanding GOP margins in the House.

With control over only the House, at present, this agreement represents a worthy deal that should receive the support of patriotic populists. Then, it should be used as a foundational steppingstone to far more expansive economic and fiscal wins ahead. 

Steve Cortes is a Republican spokesman and strategist.  

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.