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Making Sense by Michael Reagan
It’s time to play the Big Game again in Washington.
It’s time again for members of Congress to perform one of their most important duties.
But instead of passing a federal budget for the coming year, the senators and House members will take a knee and pass what’s called a “Continuing Resolution.”
A “CR,” as Washington insiders like to call it, is a temporary funding bill that averts a federal government shutdown.
It allows the massive over-spending of the federal government to continue even though the politicians in Congress and the White House have failed to come up with a real budget that will fund the federal government in the next fiscal year.
By law, Congress is supposed to do that basic duty by the end of September.
But Congress, as you have probably sensed, has managed to do that only three times in the last 47 years, most recently in 1997.
That goes a long way toward explaining why the annual federal budget is now in the $6.2 trillion range and our national debt is around $32 trillion.
CRs are more common than Super Bowls. There have been 47 of them just since 2010, some lasting as long as six months.
They are the legislative equivalent of kicking the federal budget can down the road.
CRs allow Washington’s lawmakers to put off any tough decisions about what to spend and what to spend on – you know, whether to build another “Bridge to Nowhere,” throw another $10 billion to process illegal immigrants at the border or rubber stamp another $37 billion military Care Package to Ukraine.
One of the most common dirty tricks in the Big Game playbook is waiting until right before a holiday or summer recess to call for a vote on a Continuing Resolution.
That way, as what is going on now with the CR that expires Dec. 23, members of Congress are forced to pass the CR and keep the government running so they don’t miss Christmas dinner with their families.
If various members of Congress have to be bribed with federal goodies for their districts or states to pass the CR, so be it.
Both parties play their own versions of the Big Game.
They wait until the last minute, pass a gigantic piece of legislation no one reads and then go home for the holidays pretending they’ve done something good for the country.
The Big Game doesn’t just help politicians, though; it hurts America.
It busts the federal budget, adds to the national debt, creates inflation and proves four or five times a year that the people we send to Washington don’t give really a damn about us or the country.
Thanks to the political cowardice, fiscal irresponsibility and moral and ethical failings of our so-called “leaders,” America is not just living beyond its budget, it has no budget.
We’ve been living on CRs forever.
Bill Clinton was the last president to balance the budget – and he wouldn’t have done it if Newt Gingrich and his guys hadn’t taken over the House and made him.
If I was Speaker of the House, I’d tell the president, very simply, “I’m not going to pass a CR or pass a federal budget for 2023 until you close the border.”
The Democrats promised my father in 1986 that they’d close the border if he would grant amnesty to immigrants living here illegally. He’s in the grave and still waiting.
Republicans will take control of the House next month.
We’ll see if they play the Big Game the usual D.C. way or whether they’re going to rise up and fight for conservative principles, instead of participating in get-along games with Democrats.
If Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the you-know-whats to do that, Republicans need to ask Santa Claus to bring them another quarterback or a better game plan – a winning one.
Copyright 2022 Michael Reagan, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. Send comments to [email protected] and follow @reaganworld on Twitter.