(LIN) — Don’t look now, but we may avert a March 27 government shutdown after all.
On March 20, the Senate approved legislation to lock in the $85 billion in budget cuts in a broad, bipartisan 73-26 vote ahead of the feared shutdown next week.
The House approved the Senate’s measure the next day, and with Obama’s expected signature, the sequestration budget cuts will remain in effect through at least Sept. 30. Without this legislation, the $85 billion figure will grow to almost $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
The Senate’s action is the latest in a long line of continuing resolutions (CRs), which are designed to keep the government operating if appropriate legislation hasn’t been passed by the end of the fiscal year.
And we’re used to them. From 2007 to 2011, Congress passed at least two CRs a year to continue funding the government, including seven in the 2011 federal budget. The federal government is currently operating under a CR right now.
In fact, Congress has only passed all its appropriation bills by the end of fiscal year only four times since 1975.
While making tough fiscal decisions may require more time by Congress, the trend is a bit unnerving to watch unfold. Year after year, a standoff between both houses of Congress continues to hinder the country’s potential growth.
Think of this way: If you own a business and you continue to extend an important deadline time and time again, you’re not just putting off your responsibilities, but basing your business decisions only on the next six months, or however long you extend the deadline.
It’s inefficient, and it’s how our federal government has been operating for years.
What the country needs is a solid group of fiscally responsible leaders who are dedicated first and foremost to controlling government spending and putting measures in place to avoid shutdowns in the first place. It is our money, after all.
Looking at the bright side, if the CR is signed by the end of the week, at least Congress will have avoided government shutdown with thousands of minutes to spare.
Gen Y is a weekly opinion piece covering issues that matter most to younger, influential voters through their late 30s. Jessica O. Swink, a 20-something, is the digital political producer for LIN Media and contributing editor to onPolitix.