PORTSMOUTH -- When Senate Democrats voted to end the shutdown of the federal government Jan. 22, the move was seen by some progressives that the party was gambling with lives of more than 100,000 undocumented immigrants, after opting to shut down the government just three days earlier.
“When you’re talking about continuing resolutions, you’re usually talking about just extending a level of funding or spending from a prior resolution,” said Chase Hagaman, New England director of the Concord Coalition. “You’re not talking about reprioritizing; from a procedural standpoint, it’s quite broken. From an efficiency standpoint, it’s the worst possible way to manage the federal government and it’s keeping us from talking about even larger issues. We’re talking about something that should be routine. Congress is supposed to pass a budget every year for discretionary spending and they have not been doing a very good job of that, which has created this inherent inefficiency within our federal government and created an inability to do any long-term planning.”
The non-partisan Concord Coalition raises awareness of the dangers of unsustainable fiscal policy and rising debt on the federal level. Hagaman said Congress is to blame in the sense both sides are posturing for the best possible performance in the 2018 mid-term elections, which can run counter to the best long-term interests of the country.
“In the short-term, there’s really no incentive for them to work together,” Hagaman said. “Whether it’s a Democratic or Republican leader, voting for or against things or pushing for or against things simply because you’re looking at the 2018 mid-terms and what might be most beneficial at that point. When you look at the long-term and you understand the gravity of some of these issues; immigration in and of itself is a major issue for our country that needs to be addressed. The short-term agreements aren’t really giving us a chance to have that broader conversation that needs to take place to have long-term stability.”