Blue Dogs Push for End to Budgeting by Continuing Resolution

February 4, 2020 by Dan McCue
In this Jan. 22, 2020 file photo, night falls on the Capitol, in Washington. For many Americans, how they feel about issues raised during President Donald Trump's impeachment has much to do with where they get their news. That's among the findings of a study out Friday, Jan. 24, by the Pew Research Center. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON – The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats Monday called for an end to federal budgeting by temporary, continuing resolution, throwing their support behind a measure requiring Congress to pass all appropriations bills on time.

H.R. 5226, the Funding Deadline Enforcement Act, would prevent House and Senate members from using official congressional funds to travel if they miss the annual Oct. 1 deadline to send all appropriations bills to the president’s desk for a signature.

Instead, Congress would be forced to remain in session until they reach a new, full-year funding agreement for the fiscal year in question.

The legislation was introduced by Blue Dog member, Rep. Joe Cunningham, of South Carolina, who said, “at a time when Congress can barely keep the lights on—relying on short-term funding extensions and looming government shutdowns—it’s impossible to prioritize the smart, responsible budgeting necessary to get our skyrocketing debt under control.”

“Ending the practice of continuing resolutions is necessary to ensure a fiscally responsible federal budget and prevent our armed forces and veterans from being harmed by budget uncertainty,” he said. “This commonsense legislation would prevent Congress from leaving before the job is done and delivers on the promise we made to get our fiscal house in order.”

H.R. 5226 is similar to the Blue Dog-backed No Budget, No Pay Act, in that it provides a mechanism for punishing Congress should members of one or both chambers fail to fulfill their fiscal commitments.

The Constitution grants Congress the power of the purse and endows Congress with the sole responsibility to raise revenue and appropriate money to fund the federal government. In recent years, Cunningham and others say, Congress has abdicated that duty and relied on CRs, which freeze federal spending at the previous year’s levels and are only intended to prevent an even worse result, a government shutdown.

Since Fiscal Year 1997, an average of at least five CRs have been signed into law each fiscal year before the appropriations process was completed for that year.

“As a mayor, I passed a balanced budget each year with bipartisan support,” said Rep. Ben McAdams, of Utah, co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform.

“The choices leading up to it were sometimes difficult, but that’s part of the job of a public servant in charge of spending taxpayer dollars. This measure helps enforce that we complete and pass our funding bills by the October 1st deadline, as required,” McAdams said.

Rep. Ed Case, of Hawaii, co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform, said it’s high time Congress face real consequences if it can’t fund the government on time.

“A government funded on endless unpredictable continuing resolutions negatively impacts critical programs such as national defense, creates economic and financial uncertainty, and feeds still further complacency and avoidance in making the hard budgetary and appropriations decisions required,” he said. “Our Funding Deadline Enforcement Act is a real-world response to these concerns.”

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