Rich Galen

Here we go again. Like the Voice o' Doom during the trailer for an upcoming horror movie we are being told again and again that we are facing the end of the political, fiscal, and monetary world if we get into a government shutdown situation next week.

I am not in favor of shutting down the government. I am not in favor of the government exceeding the debt limit. I am not in favor of defunding Obamacare without a fully developed replacement in the same bill.

I am also not in favor of the U.S. Congress working a few days every month and claiming it cannot get to things like passing a single appropriation bill for the new fiscal year that begins on October first.

We are still in the "sequester" which you will remember was the off-the-cliff threat to cut government spending more-or-less willy-nilly if the Members of the House and Senate couldn't get together on long-term spending cuts.

They couldn't, so the "draconian" cuts went into effect. Every time a street light goes out it is blamed on the sequestered funds. As nearly as I can personally tell the only effect of the sequester is the TSA cut open lines at Reagan National Airport down to one to make people trying to get onto airplanes to visit their grandchildren have to wait longer and aggravate more.

The Defense Department warned that its capabilities would be "hollowed out" by the sequester, but apparently the hole isn't so large that we can't keep war-making assets off the coast of Syria for an indefinite time.

According to the Washington Post

"The sequester was originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), better known as the debt ceiling compromise."

Oh, yes. The debt ceiling compromise. Like the one they don't appear to be heading for in mid-October when the Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, thinks the national debt will bump its head on the ceiling.

Jack Lew, lest this be lost to history, was the guy who originally proposed the sequester route when he was White House Chief of Staff. It has had no effect.

As no appropriations bills, according to the Library of Congress, have been adopted we are back in the all-too-familiar territory of needing the Congress to pass, and the President to sign, what is called a "Continuing Resolution" known as a CR inside the Beltway.

That is a spending package - typically a short-term package of several months - that keeps the government operating while the House and Senate, in between days off, try to figure out how to spend our money even faster until the end of the next fiscal year.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at