Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Congress Must Reach Quick, Reasonable Funding Deal

Sep 15, 2020 | Budget Process

For Immediate Release

With government funding set to expire at the end of this month, lawmakers are negotiating to avert a potential shutdown in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

It’s become routine for Congress to wait for some type of urgent deadline before finally springing into action. In four out of the last five years, Congress has waited until the very last week before the start of the next fiscal year to pass stopgap funding measures to keep the government open.

Making a budget and funding the government ought to be a given. Yet 2020 marks the third year in a row that the House and Senate won’t even have a floor vote on a budget resolution. When lawmakers don’t bother to set their spending priorities, shutdowns become more common, and even when we avoid them, we do so with bloated continuing resolutions packed with political pet projects that add to our already record-breaking national debt.

We simply cannot afford to even risk a shutdown at this juncture in the midst of a health and economic crisis.

It seems like we can’t agree on much of anything these days, but we should at least agree on this: we should not run our country without a budget. Lawmakers should pass a clean, no-frills continuing resolution as soon as possible, both to reassure the public that a reckless shutdown isn’t a possibility, and to leave time to focus on this ongoing national emergency.

Down the road, we’ll need to learn from these lessons and reform the budgeting process so that we set priorities, decide how to pay for them, and remain fiscally strong so that we’re prepared for when we are hit by future crises and need to be able to respond.

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For more information, please contact John Buhl, director of media relations, at buhl@crfb.org.