As Congress settles into a near seven-week recess, it seems increasingly likely that a stopgap Continuing Resolution (CR) will be needed before the Sept. 30 deadline for legislative action to keep government services operating.
The likelihood of a CR has increased as lawmakers have failed to produce a budget resolution and reach agreement on appropriations bills. The appropriations process has broken down in large part because of controversial policy “riders” inserted by lawmakers from both parties.
Continuing resolutions, which can last weeks or months, complicate agencies’ planning processes, perpetuate unnecessary spending and avoid the hard choices necessary to bring the nation’s long-term finances into line. And some in Congress are suggesting a CR that would last six months, leaving it to a new president and Congress to sort out plans for a fiscal year that would already be several months old.
A Continuing Resolution of any length, however, is a poor substitute for a negotiated budget agreement that accounts for the long-term imbalance between spending and revenues.