The government shutdown may not be necessary according to former congressmen and current Fox political analyst Jason Chaffetz.
The former Republican congressmen from Utah’s 3rd congressional district shared a seldom advertised and rarely discussed secret that the political class keeps well under-wraps and away from public prying-eyes…
Most Americans believe that only Congress has the constitutional power to authorize funds, and in theory that’s true, however, there are funds set aside for “unauthorized appropriations.” In fact, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year — funds that are not specifically authorized by Congress.
Moreover, both Democrats and Republicans are equally complicit in using these funds.
Chaffetz recounts his surprise as a freshman member of Congress when he first heard of this set-aside fund and the practice by some lawmakers to bypass Congress, and although many disapproved of this practice, lawmakers as a body were not inclined to address the issue. Thus nothing has been done to remedy the situation.
Ironically while Democrats refuse to budge on the president’s request for the $5-billion, they have enthusiastically participated in the budgetary shell-game that marked the Obama years.
During Obama’s presidency, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that more than 310 billion dollars in unauthorized appropriations was spent during Obama’s last few years as president.
However President Trump for all his bravado actually plays by the rules, to his credit he’s tried to work across the aisle, being flexible last year regarding the issue of DACA, by actually compromising his position, which was roundly rejected by progressive Democrats, in favor of political expediency, and more so, to deny the President of a victory.
The clock is ticking, and within a few weeks Democrats will once again be in charge of the House, and President Trump’s promise for a border wall in all probability will end.
However, the president can and should throw his principles aside and take advantage of what presidents before him have done regarding the broken Congressional process.
The federal budget is enormous, more than $4 trillion each year, of which roughly $1 trillion is discretionary. Meaning Congress is tasked with appropriating the $1-tillion for authorize programs.
However, the budget categories under which programs are authorized and funds are appropriated are extremely broad. Moreover, specific language regarding where every dollar should go is never specified. Thus discretionary funds are inevitably used for things that Congress never specifically funds.
Each year the CBO attempts to track these unauthorized expenditures. In a July report, the CBO put out its findings stating, “CBO has identified 1,035 authorizations of appropriations that expired before the beginning of fiscal year 2018. Those authorizations appeared in 261 different laws and, when most recently in effect, authorized a combined annual total of $168 billion for certain agencies, programs, or functions. By CBO’s estimate, $318 billion has been appropriated for fiscal year 2018 for those agencies, programs, or functions.”
The president can do exactly what the Obama Administration and countless others before him have done, in that the executive branch often gets the money it needs to do things that Congress won’t formally authorize.
Think of it as going through your pockets at the end of a long day, and finding spare change you didn’t account for, it’s the same principle only on a mega-scale. The administration needs to find money that has been either broadly appropriated or appropriated to a program that is expired, and then redirecting those funds to building a wall.