The Corner

Why Is the Continuing Resolution Issue Time Rather Than Subject Matter?

Since we are now down to the juvenilia of fighting over one-week continuing resolutions (CRs) incorporating budget cuts that are laughably tiny given the red sea of debt we are in, I have a question: Why is time rather than subject matter driving this train?

That is, why do GOP stop-gap proposals anticipate funding all of Leviathan (minus a sliver so small as to be undetectable in a gargantuan, multi-trillion dollar monstrosity of a budget) for X number of days (7 this time) only to ensure that we have the same kabuki dance a week from now?

Is there a reason why the GOP can’t propose a subject matter-driven CR rather than a time-driven CR?

In other words, why can’t they say, “We will provide X amount to be allocated to the following items from now to the end of the fiscal year” — and then specify the items (e.g., debt service, national defense, social security, defense, FBI, etc.) that are essential enough to warrant continued federal spending during a debt crisis? Wouldn’t that show that the GOP is serious about funding a limited government? Wouldn’t it put the onus on the Democrats to justify shutting the government down in order to force spending on functions many Americans don’t believe government should be performing at all?

Concededly, I am no budget wonk, and I may be missing something here. But I’d love to know why our side has to play by their rules. Making time rather than subject matter the driving force of negotiations and public debate allows the Left to play this as the GOP shutting down “the government.” The Dems have no need to defend unconscionable spending on a lot of nonsense. Moreover, this approach buries the issue of the $105 billion that was sneakily allocated to implement Obamacare — the radical program whose unpopularity historically propelled the GOP to a majority in the House.

Why can’t our guys say, “Look, we don’t want to play this week-to-week game. Here’s the list of things we’re willing to fund from now until the end of the fiscal year. We have an open mind about the rest, but it’s on you to make the case that particular items of spending are necessary despite our financial straits.”

And yes, I know the other side would never agree to this — at least not willingly, not until public opinion forced their hand. But isn’t that the point? Shouldn’t we be doing something purposeful to shape public opinion?


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