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By Phil Piemonte

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Beat the clock

Well, today feds went off to work as usual. After lots of drama, no shutdown

Congress seems to have beaten the clock. Sort of. Although Congress and the president did announce in the waning hours of April 8 that they had agreed on a budget to fund the rest of fiscal 2011, it actually was a memo from the Office of Management and Budget that kept things legal as events crept just past the deadline.

And of course, President Obama stood firm on his decision to deny another continuing resolution. Sort of. While he wouldn’t agree to a CR like the half-dozen, weeks-long ones he’d signed earlier, he did agree to a CR that gives Congress a week to pass the remainder of the FY 2011 budget.

And everyone can heave a sigh of relief. Sort of. If you thought the fiscal 2011 budget was contentious, wait until the fighting starts over the fiscal 2012 budget. Republican leaders have said that the billions in cuts so far are just the opening shots in a longer battle to slash “trillions” in the years ahead.

And certainly one has to have a closer look at the final fiscal 2011 cuts when that budget bill actually, really, truly is passed. Feds were relieved Friday night when the CR was announced, but—as National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley noted in a statement that night after hearing the news—“at the same time, it is at the moment not clear which budget items would be cut under the broad agreement.”

In any event, a shutdown seems to have been averted. And you can get back to work for a while.

And if this all seems to have been a lot of stress over nothing, look at it this way: You’ve had a full-dress rehearsal for fiscal 2012.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Apr 11, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Tue, Apr 12, 2011

While some people think the military is overpaid, think about this. They work 24/7 and give up their lives for you. There is no price on someone's life. Would you give up your life for someone you don't know,I don't think so. They are not overpaid and deserve a raise. The people in Washington need to take a pay cut and get down to our level.

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 TN

Be very careful who you vote for in the 2012 elections. Most politicans are lethal, they do nothing for the people yet say they will while on the election trail. Once in office they do what they wanted to do all along - fatten their own bank accounts. They have their own agenda, I can guarentee has nothing to do with the lesser employees in the Federal Government. Yet, we the people are being told to tighten our belts and to be prepared to lose our livelihoods. Where is the fairness in that? We all pay our taxes - the government makes sure of that, then some of us has to pay more taxes at the end of the year. Why do we continually have to pay the price for every other Tom, Dick and Harry out there in this country that doesn't work or won't work? If EVERYBODY living in this country would pull their fairshare, we wouldn't be in as bad a mess. Get rid of the Welfare programs that encourage healthy work age people not to work - get a job. Stop giving Food Stamps who don't want to work. We need to enforce the rules that we have in this country, we have laws but yet we are finding ways to go around those laws. Have we all gone crazy?

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 SKB

I definately agree with DHS Congress should not get paid if they can not do their job. And the idea of them taking a break without passing the budget is insane. We don't get to leave our jobs when we have outstanding obligations. This is a moral obligation, they have thousands of people depending on the outcome. As for the military they should never, I repeat never have to worry about not being paid, when they protecting this country. I was truly appalled, at the idea anyone could actually suggest something like that.

Mon, Apr 11, 2011 DHS

After all this, we are going to have a real shutdown come Oct. 1 and I think a constitutional amendment should be passed right now to not pay congress or the house past Oct.1 unless the 2012 budget is passed before then!

Mon, Apr 11, 2011

Every year Congress breaks before the budget is due. They should not be able to break until the budget is approved supposedly by 30 September for the following Fiscal year. Congress and the Senate have an obligation to do this, every year they cost the government tens and maybe hundreds of Billions of dollars due to unstarted contracts, the inability to obligate funds to programs and projects because we are in a continuing resolution. They have delayed the Fiscal year from JAN to OCT and at the rate they are going it will slip again to JAN. Stop the politicking and do your jobs. If you have to cut funding then do so equally from defense as well domestic spending ( note that there was not a freeze on military salaries which are high and significant benefits). How about cuts from programs benefitting large corporations and wealth constituents. Before you raise taxes for the average American (85 percent of the population) then make sure you raise them for corporations and the wealthy too.

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