Congress is once again failing to fulfill one of its most basic responsibilities – approving annual appropriation bills to fund government programs and services.
With the deadline of October 1 since a long time and Congress operating on a soon-to-expire interim spending bill, federal employees battling the worst public health crisis in a century, defending our country against numerous national security threats, face l fragile economy and answer so many other pressing questions, have been left in limbo.
Will there be a government shutdown, a one-year fundraising bill at current or higher spending levels, or continued short-term credits that will make uncertainty the norm?
The ongoing and controversial money issues currently preoccupying lawmakers involve serious policy differences between political parties, and these disputes take place in a high-stakes, highly partisan political environment. Reaching consensus is a long way to go.
In the meantime, federal agencies cannot make critical decisions about current programs, launch new and, in some cases, urgent initiatives now on the drawing board, plan for the future, or make sound management decisions.
Biden administration argues stalemate delays much-needed investments in public health infrastructure, cybersecurity guarantees, very poor schools, and delays increase in Social Security Administration staff and security inspections food.
The dysfunction of Congress also increases public distrust of government, demoralizes public servants, hurts federal contractors and other private sector companies, and delays or creates uncertainty in granting state and government grants. municipalities.
The American people are the ultimate loser. And overseas, the stalemate reinforces our adversaries’ narrative that the United States is a waning power. Solving the current crisis is essential, but it is not enough. For decades, we have seen politicians bring our government to the brink of one political dispute or another. Deadlocks will occur again and again unless the incentives and processes change to ensure that another devastating deadlock can be avoided.
There is an option on the table which is by no means a perfect solution, but which is perhaps a way to revive a return to reason and responsibility.
The legislative proposal, sponsored by Sens. James lankfordSenate candidate James Paul LankfordGOP says Fauci a “mass murderer”, should be jailed rather than the “hero” The Rittenhouse Bill requiring companies to report cyber incidents advances in Manchin’s “red line” on abortion divides democrats MORE (R-Okla.) And Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) Hassan Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, Women’s Museums to be built on National Mall Sununu avoids question of running for President in 2024 Sununu’s setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire MORE (DN.H.), is designed to prevent government shutdowns and force members of the House and Senate to meet the annual approval deadline for supply bills.
While a key provision in the bill would automatically impose temporary funding measures at current levels to avoid a shutdown if the deadline is not met – something Democrats oppose during this current struggle – the legislation contains d ‘other provisions designed to encourage action.
The bill, for example, would make life difficult for members of Congress by essentially forcing them to stay in Washington until regular funding is approved. Under the legislation, members of the House and Senate would be required to report to the Capitol every day, including weekends, and be present for a mandatory quorum call.
No taxpayer money could be used for travel except for a flight back to Capitol Hill for work. The conditions of participation would also apply to congressional staff as well as officials of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
It is unfortunate that we have reached the point where legislative proposals are being put forward to treat lawmakers like schoolchildren and impose some form of after-school detention, but the reality is that Congress is not doing its job.
Observers used to bet that the threat of a shutdown or delays in funding major programs would prompt Congress to strike a deal to keep the government fully operational. But the abyss loses its luster as you continue to plunge into the abyss.
Instead of repeatedly playing this risky game and wooing repeated disasters, let’s take action to prevent it from happening again. Congress owes the public a functioning government. Let us hold legislators to this duty.
Max Stier is the President and CEO of the Partnership for the Public Service, a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to building better government and a stronger democracy.