December 21, 2018 – Government Waste Erodes Our Freedom, Part VIII:
Continuing Resolutions Contribute to Waste
My first term in Congress has been a crash course on all the ways elected officials shirk their responsibility to fund the government in a fiscally responsible way. That has been on bright display in the last several weeks as we pass one continuing resolution after another and allow the federal debt to increase every minute.
What is a continuing resolution?
A continuing resolution, or a CR, is a quick-fix, a temporary extension of current levels of funding. Some resolutions allow funding to continue for several months, while others only a few days or weeks. They are typically used when Congress can’t agree on new spending levels or when there is disagreement over funding a specific program.
How are we currently funded?
On September 28, Congress passed a CR to fund the federal government through December 7. When we couldn’t agree on a long-term plan by December 7, Congress passed another CR to provide funding through December 21.
Here we are, December 21, the last day of funding, and we still don’t have a plan.
What’s holding us up?
Since President Trump took office, Republican members of Congress have been fighting to fulfill President Trump’s promise of building a southern border wall. But our Democratic colleagues have held up every effort to provide the initial down payment needed to begin new construction.
Last night, December 20, the House Freedom Caucus negotiated passage of a CR that included the $5 billion President Trump requested. Although I typically oppose the use of CRs, I supported this bill because it provides the funding we promised to the American people. Unfortunately, the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, again putting the government at risk of shutting down at midnight.
What Should Congress Do?
Rather than piece together years of funding by days, weeks, and months, Congress should be proactive. We should write a budget, one that outlines how we will pay off our $21 trillion debt, and we should stick to it!
Under regular order, Congress funds the government through a package of 12 bills that each fund a portion of the government. Each bill is written and debated individually, allowing members of Congress to reexamine federal programs and decide if they are worth continuing to fund, or decide what to cut to remain in line with our budget.
I have been calling for an end to the use of continuing resolutions and a return to regular order. Until Congress gets serious, we will never pay off our federal debt. Instead, we will continue funding unconstitutional programs and neglecting our duties to ensure the fiscal sustainability of our nation.