While everyone is relieved to avoid the aftermath of a shutdown, kicking the can down the road a few months is hardly a solution. There has to be another way for the United States. Congress has an entire fiscal year to determine a budget; it doesn’t have to come down to the wire every September. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service’s President and CEO Max Stier released a statement today after President Joe Biden signed the continuing resolution extending funding through Dec. 3, avoiding a government shutdown. 

Of Course a SHutdown is Worse, But….

“While a shutdown would have had disastrous consequences for the country, the reliance on yet another continuing resolution indicates a recurring breakdown in the regular appropriations process that hurts the functioning of our government,” said Stier. “When faced with the threat of a shutdown, federal agencies lose valuable time and resources doing contingency planning. The work carried out by our government is too important for this regular disruption and constant uncertainty. 

“We can’t accept the passage of continuing resolutions as normal. Since the Carter administration, we’ve had 21 shutdowns of a day or longer, and the last time that all 12 regular appropriations bills were completed by the October 1 deadline was in 1997. Even when averted by passage of short-term spending bills, just the threat of a shutdown derails important work and contributes to loss of public trust in our government. 

Need to Stop the Cycle of Continuing Resolutions

“We need a larger conversation about ending this dysfunctional cycle, and Congress should take legislative action so that we avoid the wasted resources and inefficiencies caused by the threat of shutdowns. Otherwise, this CR just kicks the can down the road. The longer we postpone taking action to address it, the bigger this issue will become. 

“Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) have introduced a bill, the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, that would implement mechanisms to prevent shutdowns, incentivize government funding per set deadlines and address funding uncertainty. This is a step in the right direction. 

The Partnership has extensively studied the significant threats posed by government shutdowns and the reliance on continuing resolutions. During the past 20 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective, working across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.