Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, Aug. 12, 2022. Negotiators have agreed to include more than $12 billion in Ukraine-related aid in a stopgap spending bill that would fund the federal government into mid-December. The package will also provide disaster assistance, including for Jackson, Mississippi, where improvements are needed to the city’s water treatment system. Also in the package is money to help households afford winter heating and to assist Afghans in resettling in the U.S. Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

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Once again, members of Congress have reached a last minute deal, which is expected to pass by the end of the week, to fund the federal government and avert a shutdown. And once again, they’ve merely bought themselves a little more time to fulfill one of their most basic functions. They look poised to do a similar dance in December, highlighting the same failure of leadership yet again.

They keep failing in the same ways, without doing the work necessary to change things. So we frankly don’t really need to do any additional work in pointing this out. We’ve said it all before. It’s getting to the point where we’ve repeatedly compared the situation to the movie “Groundhog Day, and repeatedly pointed to the many other times we’ve said the same things about Congress’ funding failures. The word ridiculous comes to mind.

We all probably know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, the federal budget process is still broken, so why fix our past complaints about it?

Like this from March of 2011:

“Before this week’s recess, Congress passed another continuing resolution — a measure to fund the government in the short term. This is the sixth continuing resolution since December 2010. The resolution will keep the government funded and operational for three weeks, at which time lawmakers likely will adopt another CR because they will be nowhere near addressing real budget problems,” the editorial board wrote at the time. “Both parties agree that serious talks about the future of federal spending and the deficit should begin after the resolution is passed. They disagree, however, on what spending realms should be a priority. This can’t be allowed to sidetrack this overdue work.”

Doesn’t sound much different from today.

And this from February 2019:

“The weaponization of government shutdowns is in part a product of this short-sighted funding approach. Each [continuing resolution] expiration becomes a potential vehicle for shutdown politics, where the threat of a shutdown can be irresponsibly used in an attempt to advance a larger policy agenda or fight. If Congress has to pass a new CR multiple times in a year, legislators will invariably run into more of these situations.”


Or this from earlier this year in February:

“The seemingly constant governing from one shutdown cliff to the next is no way to run a country, even if this has essentially become standard operating procedure in Washington. Congress passed a similar funding stopgap, known as a continuing resolution, in early December to avoid a shutdown as a previous continuing resolution was set to expire. That came on the heels of another short-term funding fix passed in late September. And so the cycle of fiscal procrastination continues.”  

Seems like we’re basically still in the same cycle, doesn’t it? And it leads us to the same conclusion we reached in November of 2019. 

“Regardless, America’s continued reliance on short term spending bills certainly matches that old adage about insanity — doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results,” we wrote at the time. “At some point, this stopgap funding insanity must stop.”

We won’t stop pointing out how problematic it is that Congress continues to just barely keep the lights on from one funding deadline to the next. But since they don’t change their approach, we don’t need to change our criticisms. It may be efficient for us, but it’s a terrible way to govern.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...