, Muskogee, OK


October 15, 2013

Congress needs to do its job, period

Congress should pass a budget.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the House and Senate to provide for the funding of the federal government through appropriations and taxation.

Further, under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, Congress is required to annually adopt a budget resolution. This was last accomplished in April 2009.

Clearly, the process has not been working well. But shutting the federal government down by failing to meet its constitutional responsibilities is beyond the pale.

Regardless of the motivation, this shutdown is Congress failing to do its job. In the private sector, that would mean those responsible would lose their jobs.

Shutting down the government is having a large and hurtful impact on our economy in general and on Muskogee in particular. The Muskogee VA Regional Office is our largest employer. Our citizens who work there do not deserve to have their livelihoods stripped in this callous way.

Putting families at risk for leverage in an argument, no matter how important, is unworthy of our elected public servants.

Another concern is the upcoming debt limit issue. Congress may fail to raise the debt ceiling this month, which would mean the Treasury would no longer be able to pay its debts.

As the Government Accountability Office explains, “The debt limit does not control or limit the ability of the federal government to run deficits or incur obligations. Rather, it is a limit on the ability to pay obligations already incurred.”

Failing to act on this could mean the United States would default on its obligations.

The last time Congress flirted with allowing this to happen, the country’s credit rating was downgraded. Crossing the line into default would be disastrous for our already weakened economy.

Congress must act to fund the federal government and to raise the debt limit. Now.

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