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Congress is Holding the Nation Hostage


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 You’ve seen the news: if Congress doesn’t act by midnight tonight, the U.S. government will come grinding to a sudden, debilitating halt.

This looming, unacceptable, and frankly pathetic outcome serves as an example of the brokenness and partisanship that have become the norm in Washington. Our democracy cannot function this way. Instead of the proper deliberative process—hearings, debates, authorization, appropriations, and votes—we’re seeing grandstanding that is far from being in the best interests of the nation.

Instead of serving the American people, federal workers are frantically preparing for what should have been an avoidable shutdown.  They are making contingency plans for when their offices will stop providing services. And then they will go on unpaid leave. (Oh, and by the way, Members of Congress and the President will continue to receive their paychecks.)

Why does this matter? Congressional irresponsibility has already had economic impacts on Wall Street, and soon it will be felt across the country and the globe. In the D.C. area alone, a shutdown could cost an estimated $200 million a day. The shutdown has the potential to cause instability here and abroad. And our country’s prosperity and security depends upon a functioning democracy with responsible elected officials.

Congress, you’re on deadline: Do your job. Represent your constituents by keeping the government operating. Then, you can debate the merits of individual policy goals on their own without holding the American people and economy hostage.

Photo by Flick'r User Christian Heilmann

By: Danielle Brian
Executive Director, POGO

danielle brian Ms. Brian's areas of expertise include: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Checks and Balances, Democracy

Authors: Danielle Brian

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