Once again, federal lawmakers have turned to a familiar tactic to keep the government operating and delay significant decisions to a later date: the Continuing Resolution (CR), a stopgap measure that generally extends federal funding at current levels.
The House and Senate left town last week after passing a CR to keep the government operating through next April, when the new fiscal year will be more than half finished. Many experts warn that CRs are irresponsible, short-sighted measures that merely punt serious fiscal decisions to a later date.
CRs continue current funding levels regardless of priorities and create uncertainty about the rest of the fiscal year, which makes planning more difficult for federal agencies. CRs also occupy ample amounts of time on the legislative calendar that would be better spent addressing the long-term fiscal challenges facing the nation: rising health care costs, an aging population and an inefficient tax code.
A CR only delays the day of fiscal reckoning, which is perhaps why they’ve been so popular over the years; Congress hasn’t been able to operate the federal government without some form of a CR since 1996.
Lawmakers in both parties should avoid this form of budgeting-by-crisis and develop a more sensible...