TPA and Budget

May 14, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

It was disappointing this week to see the Senate Democrats reject Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Only one Democrat voted for it. Only one Republican voted against it. (How is this for strange bedfellows?) President Obama was on the side cheering for passage. Defeat of the bill was a humiliating defeat for President Obama’s priority trade deal. He couldn’t convince his own party to support the bill. Trade deals are good for the country and especially agriculture.

The bill is not dead. Hopefully, they can change some of the wording to get some Democratic support and try again.

The other issue I want to talk about today is the budget for the federal government. We need to do some planning before we go out and spend ourselves into bankruptcy. Families budget. Businesses always have a budget. Did you realize that we have not had a federal government budget in 6 years? That is a disgrace.

Well, we have one this year. The House and Senate passed a joint budget. The good thing is – the President does not have to sign it; because he would veto it. It doesn’t spend enough money on the President’s preferred programs. It is a Republican commitment to balance the budget without raising taxes.

Congress is already starting work on appropriations bills for the different departments. Will every department stay within strict limits of spending? Probably not. Before this is over, there will be some adjustments. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had this to say: “No budget will ever be perfect, but this is a budget that sensibly addresses the concerns of many different members.”

President Obama says that he won’t accept the spending levels. However – keep in mind it is the Congress that appropriates the money to be spent. The President can recommend, but the Congress decides. The budget vote needed only a majority to become law. That is not the case with most bills. Most bills need 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster. The 52-to-45 vote in favor of TPA is not enough. We need 60 votes.

Anyway, congratulations to the Congress – we have a budget and let’s hope we eventually get TPA.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block fromWashington, D.C