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The federal budget: Here we go again

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Sunday, July 20, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Not since 1997 has Congress passed all 12 separate appropriations bills to fund government, failing miserably to abide by its own rules. Now, with the clock ticking down to the new fiscal year on Oct. 1— an accelerated process because of lawmakers' lavish vacation time between now and then — another pork-stuffed, corporate-wealthfare-plied, inexcusable omnibus budget bill is in the works.

Expect the perfunctory theatrics after Congress returns from a five-week recess that begins Aug. 1. Lawmakers will have about 10 working days in September before they break again for a month of campaigning, Reuters reports.

What the public ends up with is a rushed, overstuffed spending bill, or a stagnant contingency plan, that turns a blind eye to this year's projected half-trillion-dollar deficit, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis.

At work is something more disingenuous than just political maneuvering by both parties.

“Lawmakers no longer miss budget deadlines; they breach them deliberately and regularly, obliterating any notion of a fiscal year as the government runs on a series of temporary spending measures,” says Patrick Louis Knudsen, who was policy director of the House Budget Committee for 20 years.

Only on Capitol Hill can the public's representatives ignore this key job responsibility without repercussion. That won't change until voters change Congress — by ridding it of those who refuse to do their jobs.

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