Shutdown Nears on the Hill
A bid farewell to the Pope, a warm welcome to Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the search for a new Speaker after Boehner’s announcement of resignation has kept the President and lawmakers busy in the final days of September. However, Americans should see a shift of focus on the Hill as the deadline to pass a budget approaches in less than a week.
A possible government shutdown is on the horizon if lawmakers are unable to compromise and pass a budget by Oct. 1. For San Antonio, this could be detrimental. Known as “Military Town U.S.A,” San Antonio has approximately 10 military installations alone, with one of the largest populations of active and retired military personnel in the nation. If the government were to shutdown and sequestration was implemented, San Antonio especially, would be harmed by Congress’ inability to find common ground.
Sequestration is part of the Budget Control Act that mandates $1.2 trillion in cuts across federal agencies, including substantial cuts to the military, over the next decade. The law also mandates the Defense Department to absorb 9 percent of cuts across all programs. However, the cuts do not spread over the entire defense but rather concentrate into two critical areas, military readiness and civilians cannot work and are not paid.
Our military faces threats more complex than ever. The threat of ISIS and cyber warfare alone suggests the need for a strong and capable defense. Incapacitating the military to protect our nation because Congress’ inability to compromise should not be tolerated by the American people. Civilians furloughed because of the budget cut work without pay until an agreement is reached, while members of Congress continue to get paid regardless if a budget is passed. Clearly, those who serve our country should not struggle paycheck to paycheck.
Nevertheless, the chances of a government shutdown this year seems less probable as it did in 2013 when the Affordable Care Act could not be agreed on by the Senate. Though the support or opposition to Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act between Republicans and Democrats are core issues this year, a few variables stand in the way of another shutdown. As mentioned earlier, Speaker Boehner is set to resign at the end of October. His resignation appears to be tied to a deal in order to pass a short-term “clean” budget set to expire Dec. 11. This deal would allow Congress feasible time to debate a budget for the next fiscal year, avoiding a shutdown.
“The Commitment has been made that there will be no shutdown,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La) said to the Washington Post. It is our hope, as Americans, that all lawmakers are on the same page as Rep. Fleming. Congress has enough negative publicity as is and not one person alone is responsible for a government shutdown. It is probable, then, that we will see a last minute budget deal, avoiding a second shutdown in the last three years.
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