Here’s a question for you, when was the last time Congress sent a budget to the President for his signature? Hint, it’s a trick question.
The United States budget process is the framework used by Congress and the President of the United States to formulate and create the United States federal budget. The process was established by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, and by other budget legislation.
Prior to 1974, Congress had no formal process for establishing a coherent budget. When newly elected President Richard Nixon began to refuse to spend funds that the Congress had allocated, Congress adopted a more formal means by which to challenge him (the 93rd Congress, House and Senate, was controlled by the Democrat Party). The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 created the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and directed more control of the budget to it and away from the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Why is this important? Hint, it’s another trick question.
Need a clue? Consider this headline from CNN, “GOP seeks plan to avoid shutdown, defund Planned Parenthood.”
Why on earth would the elimination of funding for a single organization bring the entire government of the US to a stand-still? The answer should make you angry.
If you answered 1997 to the question above, you get first prize. Yes, that’s right. Congress hasn’t done it’s f-ing job since 1997.
Since 1997, we’ve had “continuing resolutions” and “omnibus bills,” but no actual budget that follows the laws set forth by the Budget and Accounting Act and the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. What would happen to you at your place of employment if you failed to do a fundamental aspect of your job for almost 20 years?
So what happened to the work done in the Appropriations Committee? First of all, until just a few months ago, the House Committee on Appropriations hadn’t cleared a full slate of appropriations bills since 2009. That fact means nothing. Their work has to go to the full House and then to the Senate. Good luck.
You see, the leadership in Congress loves the way things are going. They love using Continuing Resolutions to fund the government. Why? Power.
If Congress fails to appropriate the necessary funds for the federal government, the government shuts down as a result of the Antideficiency Act. The law “forbids federal officials from entering into financial obligations for which they do not have funding,” such as buying ink, paying for electricity, or paying employees.
Congress can avoid a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution instead. Instead of arguing over the merits of each line item in each bill, trimming the fat, cutting spending here and there, we’ve come to a point where Congress is faced with an “all or nothing” choice. Each “side” digs in their heels and postures about how the other is “hurting” this or that group, then they pass a continuing resolution at the last minute that funds the government for X amount of days/weeks/months.
Thus it has been that Congress has only passed all twelve regular appropriations bills on time in four years since 1977 – fiscal years 1977, 1989, 1995, and 1997. What were they doing if not their job? Consolidating power in the leadership.
Continuing resolutions consolidate power in the leadership of the House and Senate. If politicians want to move a specific issue forward, they have to tow the party line. If the leadership doesn’t want the issue address on the floor, it won’t be addressed. If the status quo isn’t maintained, they’ll threaten a government shut down. They’ll starve kids, put grandma out of her home, delay care to wounded vets, and all of the other crap rhetoric each accuses the other of trying to do.
Enter H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015. It doesn’t stand a chance in the Senate, nor would it survive a presidential veto. Thus, if Congress actually wants to remove funding for this organization, it would have to remove the appropriation from one of the bills that recently left the Appropriations Committee – which it didn’t do.
But, whilst everyone is arguing over H.R. 3134 and which Presidential candidate insulted what group, the leadership in the House and Senate continue to consolidate their power with the latest bill that only funds government activity for a few months. No actual cuts in spending occur. No actual agencies are reigned in or eliminated. They simply use the CR as a tool to blame the other side, using whatever hot issue is available to raise massive amounts of money to “fend off attacks” which really don’t exist. Then, a few months later, the “fight” continues over the next CR, more money is raised, the next CR passes at the “last minute.” Rinse. Repeat. The leadership’s power grows and grows, completely unchecked. The issue is largely not reported upon. Not one mention of the tyranny of the CR during any of the Presidential debates.
This is how power is consolidated in the hands of so few people in Washington D.C. Your representative no longer matters. Your representative’s committee assignments don’t matter. The government is being run by President Obama’s “pen and phone,” and being funded by continuing resolutions. This is not at all what the Founders intended. This is precisely why the Libertarian Party is needed.
What is the point of sending people to Washington D.C. who won’t do the job they are sent there to do? What is the point of pulling the lever for an R or a D candidate that will simply act in their “leadership’s” best interest and not in the best interests of the people that they represent? People tell me that there’s no point in voting Libertarian. They say that we’ll never win. Well, what is it that they’ve “won” by voting R or D? They’ve “won” a Congress and a President completely divorced from reality and from the people they supposedly represent.
Thus it is that Libertarian candidates are needed. Libertarian candidates actually believe in Constitutional restraints. They actually believe that the Constitution means what it says in the 9th Amendment and all of the other Amendments. There’s a whole bunch of things the federal government has no business doing. If you think an R or D candidate is going to restrain the federal behemoth, you’re delusional. Sorry. It’s not going to happen.
If you want to send someone to Congress, to the Senate, or to the White House who will do their f-ing job, then your only choice is to vote Libertarian. Any other vote puts your stamp of approval on this current circus, and makes you complicit in the ruining of our beloved country.
When I could no longer stand by and mindlessly pull the lever as I had done for a few decades, I joined the Libertarian Party. I would ask you to do the same. What say you?