Congress can and should end government shutdowns for good

With government funding expiring yet again this week, it’s time to get real on shutdowns. When used as “leverage,” they become counterproductive, political hostage-taking that almost always backfires. They are also completely unnecessary.

A budget impasse doesn’t have to mean that government stops working. The alternative is a continuation of the status quo through an “automatic continuing resolution.” If appropriations legislation can’t be agreed to, programs would simply carry on as before.

This isn’t a new concept. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 22 states partially shut down without a budget agreement. Twelve continue existing activities at previous levels. Others rely on legislature-approved temporary appropriations measures, like Congress does.

Do automatic continuing resolutions keep states from doing budgets and updating programs? No, quite the opposite. When shutdown looms, members of Congress and many state legislators face a tough choice between accepting a likely bloated appropriations package or being responsible for shutting down important services to their fellow citizens.

In states with automatic continuing resolutions, however, the choice is between the existing funding and an appropriations package that majorities consider an improvement. That’s a big difference, and it improves both policy and process while reducing partisanship.

 Read more at Washington Examiner

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