After another needless fight in Congress, this one inspired by House Republicans, a Senate compromise appears likely to keep the government in business through Nov. 18.
Think about that date. The vast machinery of the government of the United States, its bureaucrats and its armed forces, its processes and programs — dependent on brinksmanship in Congress to keep running for a few more weeks. Only a few more weeks.
Are we headed for another deadlock then?
The compromise over this latest debate would provide less money for disaster relief than Democrats sought but also would strip away spending cuts in unrelated programs that Republicans demanded. The compromise passed 79 to 12, with both Louisiana senators voting for it. We urge Louisiana members of the U.S. House to agree when it takes up the compromise this week.
One of the problems of this budgeting by political brawl is that every time Republicans seek a budget cut in programs backed by Democrats, the escalation of the debate puts ever more uncertainty in the wider world. Just take a look at your stock portfolio, if you dare. Businesses and markets need more certainty.
We want to see the federal budget balanced. But having been through bitter fights over relatively small potatoes, we think it’s more important that Congress stop the wrangling over a few weeks of government operations and get a budget deal that sticks.
This is the third time this year that demands for budget cuts have brought us to the brink of closing down the government. More hard choices are ahead. Can’t the two parties get together and split the difference on the money and spare us this drama?