Shutdown Is a Dysfunctional Battle in the Wrong War

Press Release
Friday, December 21, 2018

WASHINGTON -- With a partial shutdown of the federal government apparently taking effect at midnight, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby issued the following statement:

This is absurd. Government shutdowns have become “regular order.” Apparently, no policy or dollar difference is too small to serve as the catalyst for chaos.

This shutdown is a depressing indicator of how petty and partisan the budget process has become. Worse yet, this dysfunctional battle is taking place in the wrong war. If elected officials really want a big fight over spending priorities, they should look to the mandatory side of the budget, not to these appropriation bills. And if they’re truly worried about the rising debt, they should stop passing large tax cuts that dig the hole deeper.

Appropriations aren’t where the big problems are in the budget. Moreover, Congress had reached a workable compromise over these bills before the president decided that winning a symbolic vote was important enough to risk a shutdown of many federal departments and agencies for an indefinite period, wasting millions in lost productivity and eventual back pay for furloughed workers.

Eventually, of course, the shuttered agencies will reopen. But the cumulative corrosive effect of these repeated shutdowns will take their toll on institutional integrity and on public trust.

There are no winners in this.

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Media Contact: Steve Winn, [email protected], (703) 254-7828