Obama to Congress: No More Continuing Resolutions
“I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week,” the President said in his weekly address over the weekend.
“Look, that’s not the way America should operate,” the President said of Congress’ frequent use of continuing resolutions. “It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future.”
Federal workforce groups echoed a similar message last week when Congress and the President approved a CR that lasts through December 11.
“The only thing Congress accomplished by averting a government shutdown was postponing a crisis it created in the first place,” American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President J. David Cox said.
“Federal agencies have already spent millions of dollars and countless man hours preparing for a government shutdown and will have to revisit this issue again when Congress takes up the budget in December,” said Carol Bonosaro, President of the Senior Executives Association (SEA). “This is a misuse of government funds and resources, and only serves to undermine agency missions and erodes the public’s confidence in government.”
The President is urging lawmakers to reach a budget compromise to provide a level of certainty for agencies. The President has met with the leaders of the House and Senate to begin negotiations for raising the sequestration budget caps.
Finding an agreement on raising the budget caps may prove difficult.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has frequently touted the success of sequestration of slowing the growth of government and the federal deficit, and the Republican majority in Congress is split on maintaining sequestration across the board and raising caps for defense but not for domestic agencies.
While McConnell has indicated an openness to negotiating a two-year budget deal with the President, the manner in which that deal cuts spending or raises revenue could be a deal-killer, particularly in the House, where a strong contingent of members favor austere budgets.
Adding pressure to the negotiation timeline, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that the debt ceiling must be raised by November 5.
Further complicating a potential budget deal is the impending departure of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who will retire from Congress and relinquish his speakership at the end of October, and several additional high-profile political battles over raising the debt limit, Planned Parenthood, and highway funding.
The members vying to replace Boehner and other slots on the House Republican leadership team bring different perspectives to the race – some are ideological purists while others are willing to compromise – which, depending on the result, could complicate the how the House functions for the rest of this Congress.
Posted in From the Hill