October 1, 2014

A Sorry Story on Congressional Appropriations Work

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

Congress has begun a recess that runs through early September despite completing no appropriations bills and making no progress towards a budget resolution conference.

Lawmakers have failed to reconcile the overall spending levels set by the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House. Earlier this year, the House adopted a budget resolution that promised to cap spending at sequestration levels while the Senate passed one that would exceed those levels by $90 billion.

The Senate has only brought one appropriations bill to the floor, and even that was stalled by a filibuster. The House has passed only 5 of the 12 appropriations bills. Republican leaders there have struggled to win support for the deep cuts needed to reach the overall spending levels set in the House budget resolution.

Lawmakers are now widely expected to either enact a continuing resolution for the start of the next fiscal year Oct. 1 or force a government shutdown. A continuing resolution is a poor way to fund the government, and a shutdown of the government over partisan squabbles would be completely irresponsible.