After Democrats and Republicans agreed late last year to overall spending levels for 2015, there were widespread hopes that smoother sailing was ahead for the appropriations process this year.
Halfway through the year, however, the House has passed only five of the twelve required spending bills. The Senate has not completed work on any. So lawmakers are talking about relying once again on a stop-gap measure -- a “continuing resolution” -- that would keep the government running after Sept. 30, when Fiscal 2014 ends.
Such resolutions are an abdication of congressional responsibility. Lawmakers should rely on the regular budget and appropriations process to work through their differences, set priorities, forge compromises -- and approve all of the necessary spending bills in a timely manner.
This will allow federal agencies to plan more effectively for the coming year and it avoids the risk of another wasteful government shutdown.