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Back You are here: Home Columns Weekly Columns For Your Consideration For Your Consideration: Continuing Resolution for a Budget

For Your Consideration: Continuing Resolution for a Budget

Contributing Writer

A continuing resolution is a legislative device that is designed to keep the government functioning when it has failed to arrive at a budget that Congress and the President can agree on, or to extend funding to agencies that have gone beyond their allotted budget and lacking the ability to receive funding from some other budgetary item in the budget.
It’s not uncommon for this device to be employed, but it has been more commonly used to cover shortfall in an agency to enable the agency to function to the end of the government’s fiscal year; recently, starting with President Bush’s administration and continuing into President Obama’s administration, it has been used to cover the entire yearly budget.
In 1995, during President Clinton’s administration, the Federal Government shutdown all non-essential agencies within the government, as a result of Congresses’ inability to get enough votes to override the President’s veto.
It does not take much imagination to realize that there are a variety of situations that can use the possibility of a government shutdown to force one branch or the other to accept a condition that may be harmful to the nation’s fiscal stability, as undesirable as it may be to go through a limited shutdown there may be times when this action needs to be applied.
The nation seems to be faced with such a situation at this time as a result of enacting the Affordable Care Act; there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue.
Neither side wants to see a shutdown of the government, so the question parties have to reconcile is which action is going to cause the most damage to the nation’s fiscal stability?
The real concern should be the inability of Congress to come up with a balanced budget in a timely fashion. There seems to be a sizeable portion of the population that is becoming very concerned with the government’s approach to resolving the nation’s social problems and the impact that the approach is having on the country’s fiscal stability.
The nation’s elected officials are going to have to figure out which course of action is best for the nation in the long run, but it would appear that many of them are thinking more of how it may impact them or their party in future elections. The electorate has many of the same problems that are plaguing their representatives; they get caught up in party politics and allow that attachment to guide them on the course that’s needed to resolve the problems before us as a nation. 
To call the action the government has to take when the parties involved are unable to come to an agreement is somewhat of a misnomer, in reality only non-essential elements of the government are shutdown. The government has a variety of plans in place to address this problem should it occur, and these plans are being updated on a regular basis.
The government even has a reasonable estimation of the number of people that will need to be furloughed as a result of this action being taken, that number is 800,000.
There will be no major saving of money as a result of this slowdown, because the government normally pays the furloughed employees for their lost time after the problem is resolved.
The only savings that are realized is related to the fact that the government cannot grow during this period, nor can it initiate any new programs.
There are some additional savings due to the fact that many of the agencies that continue to function do so at a reduced activity levels.
The main disadvantage is that lack of income going to government worker during the slowdown, especially if they have not set money aside to cover their normal expenditures during the slowdown; the private sector will be hurt if the business is involved with the government programs that are of a non-essential nature, or are receiving support of some form from the government.
For the most part the average citizen will not experience any major disruption to their day to day life. More people are feeling a disrupting to their lives as a result of Obama-care then they will from the government slowdown, but that will not dissuade the politicians from using their rhetoric to blame each other for the harm they are causing to the nation.
The electorate should take note of any effort made by governmental agencies to slow down services to impact the public sector’s impression that it is because of the shutdown, but the truth will be that they are not following the mandate to continue to supply a timely service to those areas that are considered essential.