When Congressional budget negotiations fail, or when they go past the expiration date of previous budget authority, Congress can enact a Continuing Resolution (CR) to authorize continued full operation of the government. This requires agreement on duration and level of funding. A “clean” CR is based solely on that agreement.
That kind of agreement is not the problem at this time. The problem is that the House of Representatives has injected another issue that the Senate rejects – action on “Obamacare” – as a prerequisite for agreement. Such an issue is alien to the concept and purpose of CR’s. Insisting on this issue amounts to holding full government operations hostage, and demanding ransom, over one controversial law. Congress has other more appropriate means for dealing with one law. We are seeing an act of desperation, after many previous attempts to deal with it have failed to gain a majority of both houses of Congress.
If allowed to stand, this sets a precedent for closing down the government whenever a faction of Congress dislikes a particular law.
Anyone who wants to see the shutdown ended should ask one’s Congressman for the House to drop the Obamacare requirement from the CR process.
(Published as a Letter to the Editor on October 4, 2013 by the Waynesboro (VA) News-Virginian.)