Over 800,000 American federal employees have gone to work this morning, not knowing whether they will be expected to come in on Monday. Congressmen from both sides of the political divide worked through the night last night in an attempt to foster agreement over a the $3.5trillion federal budget. They remain half a percentage point apart. In other words about $5bn. With the budget in the balance, funding for a number of federal programs will effectively be frozen until agreement is reached.
As if the hundreds of thousands without wages and canceled tourist activities don’t sound bad enough, organisers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival have announced the annual gala parade would be canceled should lawmakers fail to reach agreement. But seriously, the failure of lawmakers to reach agreement through compromise reflects badly on the system, threatens domestic political fallout and may damage the international prestige of the United States. Come on guys you’re the world’s only superpower. What happens if you shutdown?
The polarized politics of recent years is finally coming to a head as (Republican) House Speaker Boehner, and (Democrat) Senate Majority Leader Reid continue to struggle over specific ‘riders’, including funding cuts to Planned Parenthood abortion clinics and environmental red-tape. At present both sides seem to be spending more time blaming each other than actively pursuing agreement. Hesitant to blink first, they have argued that any concessions given up over the budget may set a dangerous precedent for future negotiations, which are expected to become increasingly testing. With the government only hours away from shutting down, it's time for lawmakers to step up to the plate and pass this test of political will.
by David Fairhurst
Originally posted by The Henry Jackson Society http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/thescoop.asp?pageid=106&poid=1166