Several weeks ago, this columnist predicted that the government shutdown would end up centering on the debt ceiling and would require the threat of a semi-disaster on Wall Street in order to bring about a solution. Such was indeed the case.
Regardless of the immediate fallout from the shutdown, there is little doubt in my mind that conservative Republicans in the long run will not be the scapegoats for this impasse. Their willingness to have taken a stand with consequence will have strengthened, not weakened, their political clout, if not backbone.
But there emerged, through all of the bickering and blue smoke of the past few weeks, a proposal, its roots found in the Reagan years, which stands not only as a monument to cool thinking amidst the antics in Washington.
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga) ranks at the top among U.S. Senators with high conservative scorecards. Isakson, who had the courage to first seek office in his state's legislature as a Republican in a then-completely Democrat state during the year that Richard Nixon resigned, has never lacked the courage to speak his mind.
He caught some flack this week when he bluntly stated that the shutdown was "a dumb idea." And despite my contention that the shutdown will ultimately prove to be putting some "bite" in the GOP's bark, Isakson is right in the sense that it was handled poorly. As predicted, it allowed President Obama to use the threat of hitting the debt ceiling as a pre-Halloween "trick," to force another budgetary "treat."
But Isakson, who is noted in D.C. circles for having delivered the final nail in the coffin of the idiotic Obama-led effort to unilaterally intervene in Syria, is proposing a true long-term conservative solution to these future budgetary passion plays.
Sen. Isakson has introduced legislation (which passed the Senate as a non-binding resolution) to require that Congress appropriate under what is called a "biennial" budget. That basically means two years to create and oversee a budget, rather than this annual rushed fiasco that we currently undergo.
Under Isakson's proposal, the actual budget would be passed in odd-numbered years, while the following year would be devoted to oversight of federal expenditures. One obvious plus to the Isakson proposal would be the breathing room this would provide Congress and the nation in creating a federal budget.