Weekly Columns

Is a Government Shutdown in our Future?

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Washington, March 30, 2011 | comments

With the media reporting the looming threat of a government shutdown, it disheartens me that Senate Democrats are not even trying to work with Republicans to cut spending.  In no way do I want to see this government shutdown, but we continue to wait for the Senate to pass a long-term budget.

The House passed the 2010 budget over 40 days ago, which included over $60 billion in spending cuts. However, the Senate, run by the Democratic Majority, refuses to consider the bill – or any other bill, for that matter.  Instead of passing a budget with meaningful cuts, Leadership in the Senate is playing politics.  In an LA Times story, Senator Schumer of New York was quoted saying: "Speaker Boehner is caught between a shutdown and a hard place."  To me it sounds like Senator Schumer completely misses the issue. The real issue here is that Republicans are trying to get our fiscal house in order, while Senate Democrats appear to be throwing out taunts and jabs.  We need to work together in a fiscally responsible way to reduce the size of last year’s budget once and for all.

Is the Democratic Majority really serious about creating jobs and restoring our economy? Based on their inaction, I would say NO because we know that reducing spending will lead to a better environment for businesses to create jobs in our country.

In a recent poll conducted by Gallup, 60 percent of Americans say President Obama doesn’t have a clear plan for solving our nation’s problems.  I believe the American people are noticing that the President has failed to lead on many issues, including passage of last year’s budget. Earlier this week, he offered only $20 billion in cuts, without even specifying where these cuts would come from, in contrast to House Republican’s $60 billion in cuts.  Clearly, the President and Senate have yet to put forward a serious, credible plan.

The only thing the President has been clear on in this debate is that he doesn’t want to accept House Republicans’ efforts to return to Fiscal Year 2008 levels of spending.  Obama has failed to commit to a number he would sign into law.  Ultimately, the President’s signature is needed in order for the budget to be enacted into law, so his input is an important part of the process.

I think Congress needs to get last year’s CR passed so we can move on with other important issues addressing the nation, and not continue to enact short-term stopgap measures.

It is my sincere hope that Congress makes these important spending cuts because the fiscal health of our country is on the line.  Our country simply cannot afford to continue spending at such unsustainable levels.

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