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Terence Jeffrey
Terence Jeffrey
20 Nov 2014
Will Boehner's House Unilaterally Nullify Its Power of the Purse?

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5 Nov 2014
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US Spent 7x as Much on Food Stamps as Customs and Border Protection

Comment

Take a look at an American family's budget and you can tell what that family values.

Many of the nation's most solid and self-sufficient citizens spend a large share of the earnings the government allows them to keep paying down their own mortgages, maintaining their own households and sending their own children to school.

What can we tell about the priorities of the people who run our current federal government by looking at the federal budget?

Well, in fiscal 2014, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government spent $12.068 billion on Customs and Border Protection and $82.548 billion on food stamps. That means the government spent 6.8 times as much on food stamps as it did trying to enforce U.S. border and immigration laws.

The federal government also spent $139.555 billion on disability benefits. That is 11.6 times as much as it spent trying to enforce the border and immigration laws.

Back in 1964, before President Lyndon Johnson was able to secure passage of the law that created Medicare and Medicaid, 44.4 percent of every dollar the federal government spent was for the Department of Defense and military programs, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

In 2014, only 16.3 percent of the money the federal government spent — $583.842 billion — went to the Department of Defense and military programs.

By contrast, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — which did not exist in 1964 — spent $1,113,178,000,000 in fiscal 2014, according to the Treasury Department. That included $265.392 billion in grants to the states to cover Medicaid expenses.

That $265.392 billion in grants to the states for Medicaid was about 22 times the $12.068 billion the federal government spent trying to enforce the nation's border and immigration laws.

In August, this column noted that the Census Bureau had reported that as of the end of 2012 there were 109,631,000 people in this country living in households that received federal welfare benefits.

At the same time, there were only 103,087,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States — and 16,606,000 of those worked for the government.

That left only 86,481,000 full-time private sector workers in the United States supporting 109,631,000 people in households collecting federal welfare.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives has an absolute veto power over federal spending. The current law funding the government expires on Dec. 11. President Obama cannot spend money after that date unless the current Republican-majority House permits it.

If the current Republican-majority House insists on passing a new spending bill that runs only into January, the new Congress that has a Republican majority in both houses will have a say over how money is spent next year.

If the current Republican-majority House instead passes a new spending bill that runs until the end of the fiscal year — next Sept. 30 — they will be taking the power of the purse away from their own newly elected two-house majority.

Whether they pass a short-term funding bill or a long-term funding bill, the Republican majority in the House must decide: Do they permit Obama to spend money to implement his unilateral amnesty of illegal aliens? Do they permit Obama to spend money implementing Obamacare as he pleases?

Or do they fight back?

Permit Obama's actions or prohibit them? The Republican-controlled House has the power and the choice. The one they make will tell you what they value.

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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