Divided Government and Citizen Journalists

Blog Post
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

“We could be facing an even more tense face-off between the two parties on spending and taxes” as the result of the recent congressional elections, says Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition.

On the latest “Facing the Future,” Bixby joined host Chase Hagaman to discuss fiscal policy and the budget process in the upcoming period of divided government.

While Congress passed five of the annual appropriations bills before the end of the last fiscal year on Sept. 30, seven more still need to be completed. To avoid a shutdown for the parts of the government that would be funded by those seven bill, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that expires Dec. 7.

Continuing resolutions call for government spending to generally continue at current levels.

If partisan gridlock holds up some or all of the remaining bills past the Dec. 7 deadline, Congress would need to pass another continuing resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown.

“The easiest thing to do is pass a CR into next year,” Bixby said.

But tighter spending caps set to start in Fiscal 2020 could mean more trouble when the new Congress begins work on spending plans for that fiscal year.

“The problem there is unless they reach a new agreement to raise caps, they are going to have less money to allocate for appropriations bills in 2020, and that will make things more difficult,” Bixby said.

But he added: “Split government might actually be a good thing because it might prompt a negotiation because both sides will realize that they can’t have their own way.”

Ashley Hunt, a senior account executive at the LS2 Group in Iowa who works with The Concord Coalition on social media, joined the program to share her expertise on the role of grassroots and social media initiatives in recent elections and what their impact might be in the 2020 presidential election.

“We are seeing social media playing a lot more of a role in public affairs and issue advocacy than we have seen in even the last four years,” Hunt said. “I think that it is making the political process more available to everyone.”

While the traditional grassroots initiatives will continue, she predicted that after the 2020 elections the use of social media and internet-based engagement with voters would accelerate.

Hagaman hosts “Facing the Future” each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), which is also available via podcast. Join him and his guests as they discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.