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Jan 17

Government Shutdown – How did we Really Get Here!

The editorial in today’s Grand Junction (Colorado) Daily Sentinel rubbed my feathers the wrong way a bit so a response was drafted and sent.  The government shutdown and our Congress are the main topics so I thought my Congress People needed to know.

 

My Colorado Representatives:

Below is the text of a letter to the editor of the Grand Junction Sentinel.  You are the topic so you get your very own copy:

Government Shutdown – How did we Really Get Here?

President Trump ran for office with the Campaign Guidon, “Build the Wall.”  Anyone in this nation that knew there was going to be a 2016 Presidential election expected that President Trump (if elected) would do whatever necessary to build a Wall. 

The bottom line is that the shutdown is Congress’s fault – pure and simple.  The government is designed to operate such that circumstances should never exist for either Congress or the Administration be in a position that would allow this illogical operational outcome.  If both Congress and the Administration were doing their jobs as defined by law[1], the circumstance creating this shutdown could never have happened. 

If Congress had negotiated and approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Federal Budget back before October 2018, then the wall would have been approved, partially approved, or not approved as part of the official budgeting process.  Fiscal year 2019 would have begun on October 1, 2018, with all funding defined and approved within the confines of the budgeting process.  But NO!

Following the FY 2008 budget, our Congress has been unable to (according to them) approve and pass a federal budget in accordance with the intent of The Congressional Budget Act of 1974.  Just because Congress hasn’t done its job for 10 years is not a license not to do their job now.

Yes, the law provides for actions should Congress fail to approve a Budget Resolution or fail to approve the Budget Legislation within the defined time prescribed. When the all too familiar “reconciliation bills” begin to appear, they should not be the expected (pseudo approved?) method to fund our government.  Yes, they are part of the Budget Law, but the part that is only supposed to be used when Congress has failed its assigned duties. 

The defined budget process appears to be lost in the “can kicking,” “reconciliation bill” partisan and political process that repeatedly has, year after year, created the environment for this government shutdown.

Point all the fingers in all the directions there are, but had Congress done its job – there would be no government shutdown!

Tom Howe – Flying W Ranch – Hotchkiss, Colorado

 

[1] www.cbpp.org/research/policy-basics-introduction-to-the-federal-budget-process

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