Boehner Vows No Government Shutdown
By the end of the month, Congress will have to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2013, given how fiscal negotiations have been going between Republicans and Democrats on the Hill recently, many were anticipating a showdown that might ultimately lead to a government shutdown. Today, however, House Speaker Boehner took the idea of a shutdown off the table:
The sequester is in effect, but House Speaker John Boehner says he won’t force a government shutdown.
Boehner told “Meet the Press” the House will vote this week to keep the federal government operating through September, when the fiscal year ends, and avoid a potentially politically damaging shutdown.
The move would be the second time since the election that Boehner has avoided a fight some House conservatives wanted in order to keep the GOP from possible blame. He led House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling in January to fend off a repeat of the 2011 conflict that led to the sequester.
It also avoids a repeat of the 1995 government shutdown engineered by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, which was widely seen as a disaster for House Republicans.
“The president this morning agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown,” Boehner in an interview aired Sunday. “So I’m hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.”
This isn’t entirely surprising. Both sides did everything they could to avoid a shutdown in September by passing a Continuing Resolution shortly before adjourning for the pre-election break, and they did the same thing at this time last year when an CR had to be renewed. For all of the talk about strong negotiating position, Boehner is smart enough to know that a full-blown shutdown would likely cause blowback for the GOP, especially since he’s lived through this before. The interesting question is whether either side will attempt to use the negotiations over a Continuing Resolution to try to undo the sequester.
Boehner’s announcement does bring one thing to mind. It’s long past time that we stopped governing by Continuing Resolution. The Senate last passed a budget four years ago, and it’s been longer since Congress has actually passed a budget plus the Appropriations Bills for all Cabinet Departments by the time the Fiscal Year expired on September 30th. The budget process has been set in law since 1921, but for decades now Congress has essentially ignored that law and used CR’s to fund the government. This isn’t the fault of any one particular party, because it’s happened while both parties have controlled one or both Houses of Congress. There’s something institutionally wrong here that’s been wrong for a long time. It’s not the sexiest issue in the world, but it’s time Congress stopped governing by Continuing Resolution. It ought to stop immediately, starting with the budget that has to be passed for the Fiscal Year starting on October 1st.