Continuing resolutions are measures by which the Congress allows the government to keep chugging along just as it is for a certain amount of time because Congress can’t get its act together and properly run the country. The House of Representatives has blown into Washington to vote on a continuing resolution to keep the government going for six months. After all, John Boehner said on Tuesday there is no possibility of a reasonable compromise on a budget, so why bother? Let’s just punt into next year and hope for a Romney win.
The funny thing is, they just voted to spend about $19 billion more than vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s budget called for. The Senate will vote for the bill next week.
The continuing resolution will prevent the government shutting down on October 1st. “And that’s a good thing.” Seriously, that is a good thing. John Roberts is Chief Justice, not William Rehnquist. Rehnquist was a real manager and was able to keep the Judiciary open and functioning during the Gingrich shut downs in the 1990s. If the courts shut down, we risk letting criminal go free because of the speedy trial law. And that’s just the tip of what will happen.
It’s far more than the inconvenience of parks and monuments being closed, of offices being closed. A shut down would be catastrophic to the economy. We are talking about over 4.5 million civilian and military personnel on the Federal payroll. None of them would get paychecks. Yes, there are some very highly paid Federal employees, but the majority earn only 83% of comparable jobs in the private sector. These are people who live paycheck to paycheck just like everyone else, and without the government, there would be no assistance for them. Then what happens? How do we deal with our military overseas if we have no money for them?
A continuing resolution is not an ideal solution to our budget problems, but neither is the intransigence of the right wing. Governance should never be “our way or no way,” but that’s what we have been living with for four years now. When the Democrats had the House, the Republicans in the Senate used the filibuster to stop bills and appointments. Since they have taken control of the House, practically nothing has gotten done. They have passed more bills naming post offices than making policy.
Only by changing the House and increasing the Democratic majority in the Senate can we finally have a government that functions again.