Down to the Wire: Funding the Federal Government

September 30, 2022

Year after year, the Senate waits until the last minute to vote to fund the government. We know the deadline, it never changes. We have until September 30th to craft a budget and fund the government for another year. Yet, on September 29th, the House had not passed a budget.

This year is the 25th year that Congress has not followed proper budgetary procedure. Instead, we use legislation called a continuing resolution (CR) to allow Congress to continue to fund the government at current levels until we vote on a budget. Year after year, we use this as an out instead of making hard, but necessary, decisions right before an election. 

I am in favor of funding our federal government at responsible and sustainable levels, however, all too often, senators use the CR process to sneak in funding for pet projects. Earlier this month, I signed a letter with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) urging my colleagues to adopt a clean CR without additional spending and priorities. If we are going to ignore the proper budget process and rely on CRs, we need to use them for their true intention, not as a sneaky way to spend more money. 

The late Senator Mike Enzi was a staunch advocate for returning to a proper budget process. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee would pass their twelve appropriation bills and Members of Congress would vote on them individually based on their content and costs. Passing my Sustainable Budget Act to create a plan to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal trajectory is an important first step to ensuring a workable budget process moving forward. 

I voted against the continuing resolution, not because I am hoping for a government shutdown, but because I cannot abide by spending our future generations into oblivion. We need to make hard choices now to secure the future for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.