First of a two-part series
House Republicans campaigned this past election to fight against President Biden’s reckless spending and curb inflation. Discretionary spending is the second-largest driver of our $32 trillion national debt, and if Republicans can’t find the energy to make cuts here, where will they?
But the consequences of out-of-control discretionary spending go far beyond the national debt and inflation. Discretionary spending is the lifeblood of our government. And if Republicans have noticed in recent years, it is rogue federal agencies that have been responsible for some of the worst crimes against Americans and the further degradation of our rights as citizens. Similar to their rhetoric on cutting spending at large, Republicans who are really concerned about the deep state would do well to work fervently to deprive federal agencies of the funding they use to actively harm Americans.
Republicans in Congress must hold every agency accountable and cut spending to agencies when they behave badly. They must use funding as a bargaining chip in order to achieve true, lasting reforms. There are many examples of agencies not working on behalf of the American people and being poor stewards of taxpayer dollars. We can examine these agencies case by case.
Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security is a prime example of an abuser of discretionary spending. Since Mr. Biden took office in 2021, the U.S. has had an open southern border. The Biden administration gave foreigners incentive to illegally enter the country. Hundreds of suspected terrorists have escaped into the interior, thousands of pounds of fentanyl and other illegal drugs have harmed every American community, Americans have been killed by illegal aliens, the list goes on.
In the last two years, Customs and Border Protection has acted more like a travel agent, processing illegal aliens rather than enforcing our immigration laws. Mr. Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas lie to the American people, claiming that the border is secure. And what is their budget going toward? Certainly not toward gaining and maintaining operational control of the border. Is it toward providing food, water, clothes, etc., to every illegal alien that sets foot on American soil? This is a serious problem, and taxpayer funds cannot be allocated toward taking care of illegal immigrants.
Department of Justice
The Department of Justice is another agency that tops this list. The Biden administration has weaponized this agency to go after political opponents and has turned a blind eye to allies of the administration who have acted treasonously or fraudulently. Remember when Mr. Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, compared parents to domestic terrorists because they wanted to have a voice at school board meetings?
Even before Mr. Biden came to office, the deep state chose to go after those whose rhetoric and beliefs did not align with the left’s. From the Steele dossier to the Michigan governor kidnapping plot to Jan. 6 to the Twitter Files, each example has revealed that the Justice Department is no longer nonpartisan, looking to suppress the truth when it hurts the left and the Washington elite.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation, headed by Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has found itself at the center of a complete breakdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. Travelers have been left stranded due to airline stoppages, yet time and time again, Mr. Buttigieg is nowhere to be found. The Transportation Department’s total budget was $87.6 billion in 2022, with $11.4 billion going to the FAA in particular.
Department of Defense
Through its unnecessary vaccine mandate, the Department of Defense forced out patriotic service members for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Republicans would do well to hold the perpetrators responsible. So much has been made of the military trading readiness for wokeness in the past couple of years. Republicans should eliminate the funding of diversity, equity and inclusion positions in the Defense Department’s budget. Why are taxpayer dollars going toward spreading toxic, un-American ideologies founded on critical race theory?
General Services Administration
The vast majority of D.C. office buildings are sitting mostly empty because the federal government has largely not returned to work in person. If you live or work in the nation’s capital, you can see this for yourself. Vast swaths of the city are without workers, and fewer people are commuting in by public transportation.
Many D.C. bureaucrats are working from home, which isn’t something that has gotten a ton of attention from the media. It’s a well-known fact that workplace productivity tends to decline when people are fully remote. But why has no one else brought up the concerns about government employees conducting business from their place of residence for reasons of data security or confidentiality? The private sector takes this seriously, but can we be sure that the federal government has taken the correct steps?
Internal Revenue Service
Conservatives will remember the Lois Lerner scandal that plagued the IRS during the Obama administration. As much of an abuse of power as that was, the IRS has shifted its ire toward everyday Americans regardless of their political affiliation. If the IRS recently hired 87,000 new agents to pursue “go after billionaire tax cheats,” as Mr. Biden said, why is the IRS now examining every transaction of $600 or more? Many Americans, particularly ones who work multiple jobs in the gig economy, are paid through platforms like Venmo or Cash App, which will now face increased IRS scrutiny. Mr. Biden’s message to those hardworking folks? Pay up. Defunding the new agents and IRS initiatives should be a chief priority of House Republicans.
Department of Commerce
Most people don’t understand what a farce the last census conducted by the Census Bureau, which falls under the Commerce Department, was. Bureaucrats played games to “anonymize” the data they collected by making it essentially impossible to obtain information at the local level. This means that at the town or city level, you cannot get the granular details of anything in terms of demographics, income, employment, etc. The Census Bureau intentionally obfuscated the last census’s data to the point that it was useless in most granular cases. It was a shocking aberration of its duty to understand the state of the nation.
These are but a handful of the culprits when it comes to using discretionary spending to make the lives of Americans worse. Still, are Republicans serious about actually cutting any spending? Republicans can show they are serious about reining in spending and rogue federal agencies by flipping the narrative and pointing out the myriad abuses that the bureaucratic state has inflicted upon everyday Americans.
• This is the first piece in a two-part series by Noah Wall, executive vice president of FreedomWorks.
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