Rolling Pork and Rolling Vacations, or Limiting?
On November 14, nearly all Democrats joined with a plurality of Republicans to pass House Speaker Mike Johnson’s continuing resolution. The CR was rapidly passed in the Senate and signed by President Biden.
The CR appropriates funding for some programs through January 19, for most others through February 2, and for the Farm Bill through September 30.
This gives the CR a couple of seemingly-new twists. Kicking the can past Christmas is superficially new. In reality, this just makes governing by CRs last longer, which is nothing new. Fanning out a single resolution so funding allocations expire not on one date certain but on three is new. In reality, this likely will work out to be not-at-all different.
Johnson claimed before the vote, “I’m done with short-term CRs.” But at each of this CR’s three dates-certain, the pressures and incentives will remain the same, and the same bipartisan majority will stand ready to pass still-more continuing resolutions.
Like the latest CR, each new CR could stagger the dates certain for its remaining programs, setting another one of its program’s date certain about a year out. And as each fanned-out CR would come due, the same old script would likely get acted out again.
Rolling Pork and Rolling Vacations
Decentralized CRs will be used as opportunities to condemn any legislators who vote no to an omnibus bill, a near-omnibus bill, another decentralized CR, or an appropriation bill. Voting no would be shutting down the government department, depriving everyone of vital services, ultimately defaulting on honoring Treasury bills and Social Security and Medicare repayment obligations, and ultimately costing people their jobs, standard of living, housing, medical care, even food. Legislators could only avoid condemnation by voting to fund essentially all pork, and to repay any federal pay and contractor payments that would get temporarily shut down one program area at a time.
In short, decentralized CRs will be used as always to condemn legislators who vote no—but now not just occasionally and especially during holiday seasons, but instead every month of every year.
Heating up the public debate without taking action is a losing strategy we’ve seen play out before. President Trump talked about building a wall and prosecuting Hillary Clinton. Trump got all the blowback while delivering none of this action.
When Republican nominal leaders and Republican rank and file have faced blowback in the past, the leaders have scheduled votes, and hefty minorities of t
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