The Democrats’ “Seinfeld impeachment” – it’s about nothing – has very real opportunity costs now being borne by the American people. These opportunity costs may be measured by what Congress is not doing because its legislative calendar is being devoured by impeachment.
Consider, for example, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA). If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took the legislative time to put USMCA on the House floor, it would pass – and likely quickly pass in the Senate. Yet this long-overdue replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been gathering impeachment dust for months.
The opportunity costs of Pelosi’s failure to even allow a vote on USMCA are the foregone benefits. The International Trade Commission tallies these benefits at almost $70 billion of real gross domestic product growth and almost 200,000 additional jobs. There will be greater market access for numerous American products coming from Wisconsin dairy farmers, Kansas wheat producers, California winemakers and many others.
Consider next the opportunity costs of Congress’ failure to pass a drug pricing reform bill. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have worked closely together on an issue that matters a great deal to American families: lowering prescription drug prices. They have crafted a bill (S. 2543) that would significantly improve the Medicare Part D program, hold drug companies far more accountable and save federal taxpayers billions of dollars.
Unfortunately, this transformative bill is not progressing because the House is focusing far more on partisan investigating than bipartisan legislating. Of course, senior citizens are bearing a highly disproportionate share of this particular impeachment burden.
Now how about the lost opportunities associated with the failure to rebuild our decaying roads, bridges, airports and other critical infrastructure? President Trump’s 10-year, $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment program would raise real gross domestic product by as much as 2 percent over the next decade and increase real output by more than $1 trillion, with the higher output recouping some $200 billion in added federal tax revenue.
Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to reshape their militaries in manners that are designed to threaten America’s leadership in space. On a bipartisan basis, the House, Senate and national security experts have agreed that the military must counter these threats.
The United States Space Force, the proposed sixth branch of the armed forces, is an affordable and effective means to protect and defend the nation’s interests in space. Yet Congress is so paralyzed that it may fail to enact a defense authorization bill for the first time in nearly 60 years.
A distracted and divided House has also failed to pass a budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Instead, Congress just keeps kicking the budget can down the road with short-term spending bills known as continuing resolutions.
America’s defense-industrial base is being hit particularly hard by congressional addiction to short-term budget fixes. Exhibit A is our nation’s shipbuilding industry.
Shipbuilding is a long lead-time and capital-intensive industry that depends on stable and predictable funding. According to the Shipbuilders Council of America, 94 percent of its members will have to halt hiring if the government continues to operate under a continuing resolution.
The American public understands intuitively that the impeachment circus launched by Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is not just a partisan witch hunt. It is also a profound waste of time.
The House should be focused not on a purely partisan attempt to overthrow a duly elected president, but rather on the true priorities of the American people.
Passing USMCA, lowering prescription drug prices, modernizing our infrastructure, launching a Space Force, and tending to the people’s business will lead to more opportunity, more economic growth, and better choices for farmers, workers, families, and communities.
It long past time for the Pelosi-Schiff impeachment circus to slink out of town and let the 116th Congress finally get to work on behalf of the American people.