Approval of a borrowing-based federal budget bill that will add to the country’s already massive debt should have satisfied the spending urges of the Congress and President Trump.

A couple more trillion in debt? Isn’t that enough? One would think the elected officials would slink back to their districts figuring out how to sell their votes as responsible. Especially for “small government” Republicans who voted in favor of the bill, the approval should be embarrassing.

Yet it’s not enough, apparently. The spending bill didn’t address the nation’s infrastructure plans, a centerpiece of the Trump 2016 campaign.

More specifically, it left Congress to deal with the fact the core road funding source, the Highway Trust Fund, is perpetually insolvent and reliant on general funds to prop it up.

The trust fund’s financial problems stem from its reliance on the federal gas tax, which hasn’t been raised in decades.

Its secondary issue is that the trust fund is asked to provide money for things besides roads, including mass transit. It also bestows money on pet political projects such as charging stations for electric vehicles.

Last week, a Senate committee approved a $297 billion highway spending bill aimed at replacing legislation which expires last year. Problem is, the bill contained no funding source.

And that sort of seems like a big problem. It sounds like an even bigger problem considering the $2.7 trillion spending plan that Trump signed the prior week relies heavily on borrowing.

Yet the biggest problem of all isn’t $300 billion here and $2.7 trillion there, it’s that there is simply no end in sight.

Congress just can’t get enough of that spending stuff. The president promised to wipe out the national debt if elected, yet it will rise by almost $2 trillion in his first term.

Those trillions, they add up.

Republicans still control most of the spending power in Washington. They need to return to their core principles of strong financial control and limited government.

— Today’s News-Herald


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