The partial government shutdown is over and the US is no longer on the brink of default. Once again we have not fallen over a fiscal cliff. This story is becoming a bit redundant… Every September and October, millions of Americans collectively “facepalm” as Congress creates a mockery of an institution. An institution that (in recent years) just can’t manage to accomplish anything.
While the country struggles to recover from a recession, unemployment rates continue to remain high, families are being ripped apart by a broken immigration system, and millions of Americans are straddled with overwhelming debt; Congress continues to be held hostage by a small group hellbent on completely dismantling public programs.
I know many people are happy today. The shutdown is over. Federal employees are back to work. There are no longer barricades at the national monuments. Yellowstone and Glacier are open! Yet I have a pit in my stomach. Because we will be back in this same place come January, when this “resolution agreement” expires. And it will be back to square one and yet another continuing resolution, the stop gap measure that we have been relying on for over three years. Without a budget, we will be having regular financial fights as each continuing resolution expires.
The 2014 elections are starting to heat up. Montana will have an open Senate and (probably) open House seat. My hope is that Montana voters remember the anger and frustration they felt during the past few weeks, and recall those feelings when casting their ballots a year from now. My hope is that voters will do research and support candidates that will put Montana interests first, candidates that will work to pass a budget for our country to operate, so our low income families, people with disabilities, our seniors, our Native Americans, and our children are supported.
The nightmare of continuing resolutions, fiscal cliffs, sequestration, and default will continue as long as the US continues to operate without a budget. We need a budget to invest in infrastructure and our communities. We need a budget to get Americans back to work and to strengthen our economy. We need a budget to realistically deal with the national deficit.
And most importantly we need a budget so that America can stop being a global laughing stock.