published Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Shutdown showdown

Whatever Congress did or didn’t do by midnight last night in either facing or dodging its financial responsibilities, the threat of a government shutdown was proof that many lawmakers are disgustingly irresponsible.

The Constitution says in Article I, Section 8, “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States ... .”

That Congress has not always been responsible in its duty is indicated by the fact that it has run up a national debt of more than $14 trillion!

That’s the long-range view.

But the short-range view is that while Congress has the responsibility of providing the finances for the delegated functions of the U.S. government — in both domestic and foreign affairs — it has not done so in a wise and timely fashion.

With some big decisions by Congress required by midnight last night, there were no legal options but for lawmakers to rush through some new appropriations to keep governmental functions going or to shut down some federal operations — though vital services were to continue regardless.

While Washington clearly does many things never authorized by the Constitution, Congress’ constitutional obligations are so important that federal lawmakers should never have waited until a last-minute deadline to do their financial duty.

Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, may argue about how much should be appropriated and for what purposes — making their decisions wisely and intelligently or foolishly and carelessly. In the current showdown over spending, for example, it should be noted that one of the key obstacles has been Democrats’ reprehensible rejection of GOP demands to cut unconstitutional funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood — and Democrats’ desire for higher spending overall than what Republicans are willing to accept in a time of crippling debt.

But such disputes should not have caused the legislative branch to fail to provide for governmental operations.

An understanding of that basic responsibility was lost on too many members of Congress, who wanted to play a game of budgetary “chicken” instead of perform their duties.

With members of both parties having sworn to uphold the Constitution, it is appalling that many refused to put the national interest first.

There unfortunately have been several shutdowns in the past, the most recent ones in 1995 and 1996. Solutions were worked out on those occasions. But that adult men and women failed in their duty, then and now, is outrageous.

This morning, we should know whether a government shutdown was averted at the last minute.

But either way, Congress has not behaved responsibly.

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bookworm said...

Free Press: Again you've missed some points. Rand Paul fumed over not including cuts in the military where --- with a history of waist and cost over runs and two, possibly three, wars costly and waistful, then all Americans should be fuming! And the wars have been put off budget while Social Security and Medicare are. Note, these were never intended to be part of the federal budget, as they are paid for seperately by individual FICA withholding. Also, Medicare is not free! Retirees on social security pay a monthly amount deducted from their meager checks. So don't go yelling 'outrageous' when you're party dilly-dallies during budget talks about planned parenthood and a womens' right to make decisions about her reproductive health. Why don't you pick on Bank of america and GE who made billions in profits, moved jobs overseas, and paid no taxes at all.

April 9, 2011 at 8:05 a.m.
hambone said...

When it was proposed to cut taxpayer funded subsidies to BIG OIL, 100% of the GOP, Tea Baggers and all voted against it.

GOP votes to maintain taxpayer funded farm subsidies while Tea Party darling M. Bachmann and freshman congresswoman C. Moen are the two biggest receptance of these in their respective states.

April 9, 2011 at 8:25 a.m.
Julian1 said...

Tax cuts for the rich. The end of Medicare for the elderly. God bless the Republican Party!

April 9, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
GlacierClipper said...

All political parties holding seats are to blame for the over-spending and causing this massive debt mess in this country.

All of these politicians stumble at during Musicial Chairs and fail at Show and Tell!

Vote for anyone other that the current political parties. That is the way to balance budget at voter level!

April 10, 2011 at 1:26 a.m.
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