We are now in the third week of the partial government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) believe they are nearing an agreement to reopen the federal government and defuse the upcoming debt crisis.
“The latest proposal would reopen the government at current spending levels until January 15 and extend the federal borrowing limit until early February, according to aides familiar with the talks. Lawmakers also would begin longer-term negotiations on the budget, with the task of reaching an agreement by December 13.”
It sounds to me as though they are “kicking the can down the road” – again - rather than settling the problem. It appears that they are simply setting some future deadlines that will look a lot like the one they are supposedly dealing with at the present time. Many lawmakers apparently feel the same way. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), a member of the Senate GOP leadership, voiced the frustration: “Everybody realizes that whatever happens, we’re going to be litigating this [on] another day.”
While members of Congress are debating the debt limit, spending cuts, Obamacare, and government funding, we must remember that the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives passed several bills that would fund the government and others that would reopen portions of the government, but all the House bills were rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate. I wonder if the Senate will ever pass a real budget as long as Harry Reid is in control!
The Heritage Foundation reminds us that there are two things that Congress cannot ignore: Obamacare and spending cuts. Obamacare has not yet been fully implemented but “is negatively impacting people.” It also creates additional entitlement programs that would join the ones that are already “driving our spending and debt crisis.”
“What Romina Boccia, Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow, wrote in August remains every bit as true today: `It is irresponsible for lawmakers to spend valuable negotiating time on how they can spend more of taxpayers’ money on discretionary programs when they should be pushing for an agreement to resolve the spending and debt crisis brought about by entitlement programs. Defunding Obamacare should be their first priority. Congress should cut spending and fix the real debt crisis – out-of-control entitlement spending – before or as part of any increase in the debt ceiling.’
“Obamacare and out-of-control government spending are holding back our economy and keeping people from jobs. These are two monsters Congress and the President cannot wish away.”