These last-minute budget bills are making everyone in Washington look very bad
I call it a dysfunctional federal government and something that no one can be proud of.
First, the federal government should look to the states for a few lessons in budgeting. Most states require a balanced budget, and that forces legislators to work on solutions rather than speeches. It's time to revive the balanced budget amendment that was so popular in the 1980s.
Second, every businessman in the country operates with a budget and is required to submit it on time. Small and large companies have to prepare, negotiate, and then explain their budgetary choices. Most businesses usually have a deadline to write a budget, but in Washington, D.C. we have something called the "CR," or continuing resolution. In the real world, a budget is something that you complete, whereas in Washington, D.C. it is something that you keep punting and punting.
Third, these huge bills include stuff that most hardworking Americans cannot understand. This is a bit of what's in that mammoth bill:
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT:
The law is still funded, but there's no new money for it. There's also no new ACA-related funding for the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the two agencies most responsible for implementing the law. The bill also would cut the budget of the Independent Payment Advisory Board -- what Republicans have called "the death panel" -- by $10 million.
Congress withholds funding for the Afghan government "until certain conditions are met," including implementing the bilateral security agreement reached with the United States.
The nation's rail passenger service earns $1.39 billion, the same amount it currently receives. The rail service carries passengers through 46 states and hit an all-time high of 31.6 million passengers during the last fiscal year, according to Democratic aides.
Am I the only voter who thinks that these three items should be voted up and down in three different bills? Why should a representative's Afghanistan vote impact Amtrak? I don't get it.
As the new Congress comes in, I hope that President Obama and the GOP commit to a timely disposition of budget items. It is embarrassing to have this annual circus around our federal budget.