Editorial: Government shutdown not the answer to budget debate

While Congress argues over ideological viewpoints, hundreds of thousands of government employees wait with bated breath as we are once again days away from a federal government shutdown. 

It is time for Congress to act like the responsible politicians they claim to be and approve a federal budget. 

If the members of Congress do not reach a consensus regarding the budget by Sept. 30, the government will face many of the same issues from the shutdown in 2013. These include the closing of national parks, governmental services and the suspension of federal employees, to name a few.

According to the International Business Times Media (IBT), “Conservative lawmakers are refusing to back any budget plan that includes funding for Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health organization that performs abortions, as well as other services.”

In 2013, after delaying funding due to indecision over the Affordable Care Act for two weeks, roughly 800,000 federal employees were sent home and national parks and services were closed. Additionally, the shutdown had a $20 billion economic impact, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

President Barack Obama warned the country that allowing the government to shutdown would jeopardize years of economic progress in his weekly address Saturday. He said, “Our businesses have created more than 13 million new jobs, (and) the unemployment rate is lower than it’s been in over seven years,” according to IBT.

Republicans, however, disagree with funding Planned Parenthood after allegations were made from an anti-abortion group claiming it was financially benefiting from selling the tissue and organs of aborted fetuses. The allegations have called into question the $528.4 million government funds the organization received last year.

“As the most pro-life speaker in history, Speaker (John) Boehner is working to hold abortion providers accountable for their horrific practices and advance the pro-life cause,” said Boehner spokeswoman Emily Schillinger. 

“The leaders have not made any decisions on the (continuing resolution) yet, and no options have been ruled in or out.  They will make decisions in the coming days,” Schillinger said in the Daily Caller.

Yet it appears as if most Americans disagree with indecisive Republicans. According to a CNN/ORC International poll taken between Aug. 13 and 16, 2015, 71 percent of Americans believe keeping the government open is more important than defunding Planned Parenthood.

The shutdown sparked outrage two years ago and led to protests all over the capitol.  According to WJLA, several hundred federal workers gathered on Capitol Hill demanding a vote on a continuing resolution in the House. ABC News reported thousands of protestors gathered in Washington D.C. to protest the closing of national monuments and memorials. Citizens became enraged when politicians failed to do their job and approve a budget.  

What is baffling is Congress apparently believes making the same decision will somehow generate a different response. Americans have made it abundantly clear they don’t want another shutdown. 

Yet here we are, with nine days until deadline, and not a compromise in sight. Congress, for once, listen to what your people are saying and approve a budget.