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EDITORIAL: The president is failing as a steward of public money

When it comes to spending other people’s money, the Biden administration has only one setting: more, more, more.

Lost amid recent world events and the $100 billion White House spending proposal for aid to Ukraine, Israel and elsewhere, was an administration demand last month that Congress approve $56 billion in “emergency” spending on various domestic initiatives.

This request comes on the heels of trillions in previous spending that has triggered the highest inflation in four decades and resulted in soaring interest rates and $2 trillion in annual red ink. But it’s never enough. Yet as Americans struggle to pay elevated prices at the grocery store and the pump, President Joe Biden remains mystified that voters haven’t embraced “Bidenomics,” which clearly involves pushing the country to the fiscal brink in an effort to buy political support.

The new spending is disguised as an effort to beef up disaster relief, expand child-care programs and subsidize rural internet service. But it also includes cash for “opioid harm reduction, low-income home energy assistance, international food assistance and nonprofit grants related to counterterrorism,” note Romina Boccia and Dominik Lett of the Cato Institute.

None of this spending is remotely related to any “emergency” and should be debated during the normal budget process.

“Overreliance on emergency spending for issues that should be part of basic budget discussions erodes trust in the government’s capacity to budget responsibly and directly contributes to the long-run fiscal challenge,” argue Ms. Boccia and Mr. Lett.

Moreover, these additional “emergency” expenditures complicate the effort to provide much-needed aid to Israel as it fights for its survival.

House Republicans should demand that the White House accept offsetting spending cuts for further outlays involving domestic pork. As Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal noted, it’s past time for Congress to set priorities within a responsible budget framework.

“Most Republicans are willing to cut domestic spending to bolster national defense,” she noted last month. “It’s Democrats who refuse to make choices — and keep breaking the bank.”

The president’s latest “emergency” request — without any mention of potential budget offsets — provides further evidence that the White House has utterly failed as a responsible steward of the public fisc. The national debt has blown past $33 trillion, yet Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats continue to spend as if the pandemic still raged across the land — and without even an acknowledgment that the nation cannot continue down this fiscal path.

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