On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a deal had been reached with Democrats to not only keep the government open past the Thursday night deadline, but also actually ensure it was funded for the next two(!) years.
The agreement would do a number of things both sides have long wanted: $160 billion for military spending, $128 billion for domestic spending, a longer lead time on raising the debt ceiling.
It also does something that, even a few years ago, would have been considered a nonstarter with Republicans: Adds almost $300 billion to the deficit.
That $300 billion comes on top of the $1 trillion Republicans added to the deficit when they approved the tax cut legislation at the end of 2017.
Those twin moves – both of which were strongly backed by the White House – confirm that the Republican Party as it existed before Donald Trump’s hostile takeover has ceased to exist.
The pre-Trump, post George W. Bush Republican Party was obsessively focused on reining in federal spending and finding ways to shrink the government’s debt.
Paul Ryan rose to prominence within the party – and nationally – with his much-ballyhooed budget proposal that, in his words, made hard choices to address the issue of our time: Our debt.
“Our debt is a threat to this country,” Ryan said in a 2013 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “We have to tackle this problem before it tackles us.”
Enter Trump. The self-proclaimed “king of debt.” The man who said “I love debt.” And someone totally uninterested in putting debt reduction anywhere near the top of his priorities list.
From his tax cut plan to his $25 billion ask for border wall funding, Trump has shown time and again that deficit spending is 100% A-OK with him.
And, amazingly, the GOP Congress has simply gone along with him. The same people who spent the Obama years insisting that the Democratic president was spending the country into certain oblivion have suddenly made peace with a Republican president who seems to care even less about the debt.
The Point: RIP, Republican Party 2008-2016. It’s dead. As a doornail. This is Trump’s party from top to bottom now. And that means the “d” words – “debt” and “deficit” – just don’t matter that much anymore.
Read Wednesday’s full edition of The Point.