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Republicans Still Haven't Learned Their Lesson from 2006

Democrats embarrassed Republicans in the 2006 election, ousting them and taking control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in January 2007.  

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s election message was simple: If you want fiscal responsibility in Washington once again, put Democrats in charge. Voters probably figured after six years of rampant government spending under Republicans, what did they have to lose? 

A lot, as it turns out. But you know things are bad in Washington when Democrats can make the case they are the party of fiscal responsibility. 

I heard a Republican member of Congress say a few years ago that Republicans had learned their lesson from their 2006 whipping. If they ever gained control of all three branches—White House, Senate and House—again they would do much better. 

Well, as the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s graph shows, voters who gave them that chance are still waiting.


Republicans and conservatives like to point out that total federal debt rose by $8.72 trillion during President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House. 

But we need to remember that Republicans have controlled the House since January 2011. And yet total federal debt has risen $5.97 trillion since then. 

Oh, but House Republicans couldn’t do much because Democrats controlled the Senate. 

Then Republicans took control of the Senate beginning January 2015, and yet total federal debt has risen $2.09 trillion since then. 

Oh, but Republicans couldn’t be the fiscal conservatives they swore they’d be because they didn’t control the White House. 

Well, now they do—and it’s hard to see any desire to cut government spending. Indeed, their latest budget deal only doubled down on their big-spending ways. 

So now we will hear that if only Republicans had 60 votes in the Senate, THEN they would, at long last, cut spending. Maybe, but a safer bet is they would spend every bit as much, if not more. 

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took control of the House and Senate in 2007 because Republicans refused to live up to their promises of being the party of fiscal restraint. 

The Republican leadership is giving Democrats yet another opportunity to make that case—because Republicans refuse to learn their lesson.