an insane way to run the country

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Nearly three months late, with just days left before the holidays and under the threat of a looming government shutdown, Congress is finally doing most of this year’s work by passing an “omnibus” spending bill.

What a truly insane way to run the government.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to move the $1.7 trillion, 4,155-page legislative whopper to keep the government funded for the rest of the 2024 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. Leadership hopes to finalize it this week — before a partial government shutdown takes effect at 11 p.m. Friday.

Why the delay and last-minute rush, when lawmakers had a whole year to get this done? No emergency derailed the “normal” process: This has just become the new “normal,” as Congress now routinely winds up in this mess — at least half-intentionally, as many think an omnibus is the best chance to get their way.

Indeed, it’s failed to pass all appropriations bills on time for 26 straight years now: The last time it met the Oct. 1 deadline was 1996.

Leadership hopes to finalize the bill this week.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted to move the $1.7 trillion, 4,155-page legislative whopper to keep the government funded for the rest of the 2024 fiscal year.
REUTERS

This guarantees not just the outrages that Jim Bovard outlines elsewhere, but major policy made without debate or even knowledge among most members of Congress. No lawmaker can read 4,155 pages in a matter of hours. At best, he can absorb the partial summaries the leaders share.

Nor can lawmakers even offer amendments; the entire package must be voted on, in full, as is — with “he voted to shut down the government” ads ahead for those who refuse to go along.

No wonder the public consistently, and increasingly, holds Congress in low regard.

Sooner or later, a president (or House or Senate faction of sufficient power) has to put an end to this, and fight as hard as it takes (including likely federal shutdowns) to force Congress to do its job on annual spending on time and in an orderly, deliberative fashion.

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