Congress's budgeting ineptitude continues
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By coming together and approving a funding solution last week, Congress avoided a government shutdown. The problem? The short-term continuing resolution (CR) only lasted for four days. That CR ends today. While the House approved another stopgap measure this afternoon, passed by the Senate last week, this one only funds the government through November 18.
So how bad has Congress performed when it comes to their most basic responsibility? As USA Today says, ”The last time Congress passed all of its spending bills by the Oct. 1 deadline, Seinfeld was on television and people were dancing the Macarena.”
It’s a bad sign when avoiding a government shutdown is perceived an accomplishment.
USA Today continues:
For the 14th year in a row, Congress missed the deadline for the fiscal year that began Saturday — as it did last year, passing eight stopgap spending measures that often brought the government within days or hours of shutting down.
“It used to be that one of the ways Congress was judged was the number of appropriations they passed by the end of the fiscal year,” said Stan Collender, a budget expert and partner at Qorvis Communications. “Now we say it’s a success when Congress avoids a government shutdown. Talk about decreased expectations.”
So where do we go from here? Besides another shot to its credibility, there is no consequence for Congress not passing a budget on time. The USA Today article outlines some possible changes to the current budget process including biennial budgeting, a joint budget resolution, line-item lite, and fixing the baseline. Click here to read more on these.
While we’re all for fixing broken processes, this shouldn’t be something Congress has so many problems with. It’s simply laying out a blueprint for how much, and where, the federal government should spend in the coming year. Families all across the country are doing it. Lawmakers should do it as well.
As David Walker, founder of the Comeback America Initiative says, “There’s only one thing under the United States Constitution that Congress is supposed to do every year. And that’s pass a budget. There’s no sanction for not doing that, and maybe that needs to change.”