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Shut Down the Shutdowns

Published in Blog on January 23, 2018 by Betsy Sanz

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The people have the power to end this reoccurring circus.

Congress has done it – or, rather, NOT done it – again. They have failed to pass a federal budget. 

Usually this results in passage of sloppy "continuing resolutions” (short-term spending deals that allow the government to continue functioning until Congress can pass an actual budget). It’s a dysfunctional habit that increases waste and decreases accountability. 

So the federal government “shut down.” Again.

Government shutdowns impact those positions and work that are funded annually. It’s not the end of the world, as active military and “safety critical” positions are exempt. But shutdowns are disruptive and ultimately very costly to taxpayers. 

Congress doesn’t follow its own rules.

For decades, Congress has failed to follow its own budgeting rules. This is not a 115th U.S. Congress problem. It is a U.S. Congress problem. 

In fact, over the last forty years, Congress has passed a budget on time a whopping four times. And 14 of those years never had a budget passed at all – six of such years occurring during the Obama administration (that’s 24 CRs in a row, making it arguably the most wasteful era in American fiscal history).

Pew Research Center graph: U.S. Congress rarely passes spending legislation on time

The fix is a fiscal responsibility amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution currently contains broad language regarding taxing and spending. Article 1, Section 9 states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” 

From this language lawmakers over time have developed rules around budgeting...and then dismissed them.

But we the people have the power to make the rules for them. We always have. We can actually bypass Congress and amend the Constitution to make it unconstitutional for Congress to be fiscally irresponsible.

How? By calling an Article V Convention of States and proposing a fiscal responsibility amendment.

Here's what a fiscal responsibility amendment could look like.

A fiscal responsibility amendment could:

  • Require a balanced budget without allowing Congress to "raise fees" (aka taxes) on the people to "balance the budget.”
  • Force Congress to use generally accepted accounting principles (amazingly, they currently do not do this!)
  • Require that the federal government actually live within its means and exercise serious spending limits, so our children and grandchildren won't have to foot the bill for the waste currently permitted
This is why we are here. Let’s use the tools the Founders gave us to limit the federal government’s squandering of resources and lack of accountability, for good!

Click here to get involved!
Convention of states action

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