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Governing from crisis to-crisis isn't governing

Whether or not Congress makes a deal to avoid a government shutdown before midnight tonight, they've already failed....

Posted: Jan 20, 2018 2:34 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2018 2:34 PM

Whether or not Congress makes a deal to avoid a government shutdown before midnight tonight, they've already failed.

The most basic job of Congress is to approve bills that fund the many activities and operations of the federal government. In an ideal world, Congress would approve a year's worth of government spending so that agencies could do some mid- and long-range planning.

That hasn't happened in years. Twenty years to be exact, according to the non-partisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Instead, Congress has increasingly resorted to continuing resolutions -- short-term Band-aids to keep the government funded.

Since the start of Fiscal Year 1998, there have been -- wait for it -- 112(!) continuing resolutions to keep the government running.

The result of using a Band-aid to try to stop a gaping wound -- i.e., a task for which it was never intended -- is that our Congress winds up lurching from crisis to crisis, each one separated by increasingly shorter amounts of time.

Consider the debate earlier this week: A month-long continuing resolution was dismissed as impossible, with several senators floating a two-week -- or even five-day -- CR. Five days!

The simple fact is that even if a deal gets cuts tonight to keep the government open, we will almost certainly be right back at the brink of shutdown in five days or two weeks or a month. Passing any sort of continuing resolution won't preserve the DACA program or provide funding for President Donald Trump's much-ballyhooed border wall. It won't change the dynamic at all.

Fights delayed are not fights avoided. They are just fights delayed.

The Point: Governing from crisis to crisis isn't governing. It's punting -- and punting and punting. And no one wins when all you do is punt.

Read Friday's full edition of The Point.

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