Sarah Green, Staff Writer:
While Stephanie Guerrera was working late to organize Big Event registration, government negotiators were working to finalize a plan to pay for government operations and avert a temporary shutdown. At about 11:00 Friday evening, President Obama announced to the media that the federal government would indeed be open on Saturday, April 9.
This budget deal was negotiated by the Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. After
six grueling weeks of discussion, members on all sides of the debate felt that they had achieved victory. The Republicans were thrilled by the sheer size of the spending cuts–38.5 billion dollars. And the Democrats were pleased that some GOP policy initiatives were forfeited.
Yet this settlement does not even begin to solve the budget crisis that the United States government currently faces. In fact, this deal is almost the calm before the storm. In the coming weeks, the Republicans and Democrats must vote regarding the “debt ceiling”–and if the GOP prevents
an increase in the debt limit, the U.S. may face the first federal default in the history of our nation.
According to many media sources, the six-week fight was nothing more than a prologue–a quibble over a few billion dollars that will soon be followed by an all-out battle over trillions.
In all honesty, this moment of compromise is phony; the weeks of debate that preceded Friday’s budget deal and the war that is sure to ensue regarding the debt ceiling simply exemplifies all of the flaws in the American government system.
The party lines are too deep. Our congressmen are too split. The government
officials as a whole are too focused on partisan matters. Cooperation seems impossible–unfathomable even.
Plus, as negotiators involved in the most recent budget talks demonstrated,
everyone is too focused on their own agendas. Discussions about preventing the government shutdown led to a debate over environmental rules and the issue of federal funding to corporations like Planned Parenthood.
While these matters are certainly important (and even somewhat related
because they do involve finances), too much time is wasted arguing over these sub-policy initiatives–and too little is spent working together to achieve the most beneficial solution for the American people.
Perhaps the men and women in Washington have good intentions. Maybe their motives are pure. It is even possible that our officials really do want to solve the budget issue once and for all and do what is right for citizens nationwide. And yet the fact of the matter is, very little is being accomplished. Obama promised change–but maybe bipartisanship is too much to ask for or too drastic a change for any one man to cause.
Government shutdown averted
Sarah Green, Staff Writer: