Monday, December 9, 2013
Letter of the week
The Republican leadership's decision to force a government shutdown and risk another recession over the Affordable Care Act is an irresponsible action.
Congress' job is to create a budget. Clearly, Congress has failed to provide a budget, and the outcome is a shutdown and drastic cuts in services from domestic security to welfare programs and health-care programs. The current fix for an indecisive Congress is the continuing resolution, which is now stalled needlessly.
Washington should adopted a simple procedure that works well in state and local negotiations. When a state administration and a union fail to agree on a new contract, the old contract remains in effect, and normal activities continue during the mediation process.
A similar procedure would make Washington work in a more responsible way.
The continuing-resolution approach is not working because a faction in the Republican Party is using this housekeeping procedure inappropriately as a political sledgehammer. In so doing, Congress is failing in its most basic responsibility to govern.
The immediate problem will not be fixed until moderate Republicans take back control of their party and work with Democrats to pass a clean, bipartisan continuing resolution.
In the long run, checks and balances need to be created to prevent the current circus from repeating itself and to promote more responsible governance. We should amend the Constitution to enable the president to continue government operations using the old budget indexed for inflation and population. This presidential power would include the ability to borrow funds if necessary to cover expenditures.
Congress would reclaim its privilege and responsibility when it does its job and passes a budget.
Peter Konieczko, Augusta