Moving into Day 10 of the government shutdown, it’s curious to watch the wheels keep turning (kinda) in the operations of public service. Our cities and states are moving forward, trying not to get sucked into the swamp of inefficiency that has enveloped Capitol Hill.
While most state leaders have said, according to a Governing magazine article, that they are not worried about a few days of stalemate, an extended shutdown will begin to have trickledown effects.
“State and local government budget experts say the first federal government shutdown in 17 years shouldn’t be too disruptive to their operations in the short-term, but if it lasts more than a week, they could start to encounter serious challenges” (Holeywell, Governing).
Sad to say, a government shutdown is not new. As most have heard, there is precedent to this tactic – 1995 and 1996. But as most experts have noted, this is no way to run a government. In the Memos to National Leaders publication, ASPA and NAPA emphasized the need for better collaboration between the White House and Capitol Hill. Among the recommendations:
- Develop a long-term approach to the budget – the continuous crisis mode in which elected leaders place the country is unnecessary and unhealthy.
- Create national objectives that are the focus of strategic budget reviews – this requires the President and Congress actually working together.
- Give the president expedited rescission authority – admittedly this could delay further approval of a budget but at least when a budget is finally approved it would include the major items identified by the national objects (see #2).
- Streamline the congressional budget process – from the committees to the ever present vote on the debt ceiling, experts in the Memos book recommend scrapping the old and adopting a new strategy on Capitol Hill when it comes to the budget.
Now, we’re not just dreamers. So, we’re quite aware that implementation of any of these changes may be like moving the Washington Monument – but anything’s possible right?
Our public servants deserve to have leaders who demonstrate as much a commitment to good governance as they project every day (and on the days they are allowed to go to work). The last 10 days have been a sad display of poor and ineffective leadership. Let’s hope our leaders will get it together and offer a plan that proves to the country and the world that good government still exists in the U.S.