The big discussion in the world of punditry today is whether Congress will pass a Continuing Resolution to keep funding the government, or whether budgetary authority will expire tonight, forcing a shutdown of “non-essential government functions.”
I’ve noted several times before that this annual dance shows just how disfunctional our government has become. Passing an annual budget on time should be Job #1 for Congress. Instead, we get year after year of sloppy half-measures and patchwork spending:
Far from being a new symptom of present-day Washington dysfunction, Congress’ chronic inability to follow its own appropriations process goes back decades. In fact, in the four decades since the current system for budgeting and spending tax dollars has been in effect, Congress has managed to pass all its required appropriations measures on time only four times: in fiscal 1977 (the first full fiscal year under the current system), 1989, 1995 and 1997.
While the House passed a Continuing Resolution Thursday, there’s speculation the Democrats will torpedo a Senate concurrence over displeasure with not getting a DACA amnesty. Fine. If they want to burn the house down in a tantrum over not legalizing the presence of millions who came to this country illegally and uninvited, I say bring it on.
Then the President ought to permanently shut down all agencies that were deemed “non-essential” during the break in funding authorizations. He can blame the opposition for highlighting again that much of what the Federal government does can be deemed “non-essential” when push comes to shove. Having worked for Uncle Sam, I can verify there is indeed much nonessential nonsense the taxpayers fund year after year. So let’s get rid of it.
If we’re going to play chicken with the budget every year, let’s play for keeps.